COON RAPIDS, MN – A poor shooting night for the Bay College Women's Basketball team (9-5) allowed the Anoka-Ramsey Community College Golden Rams (7-4) to build a lead. The Norse mounted a late comeback that would fall short, and they lost their second consecutive game, falling by a final of 65-60.
Bay College took a 7-5 lead in the opening minutes, but were met with shooting woes early on. The Norse made just one basket over the final seven and a half minutes of the first quarter, allowing the Golden Rams to build a 17-9 lead.
Offensive struggles continued to plague the Norse in the second quarter, as the host team would lead by as many as 13. A Cerra Molina (FR, Rudyard, MI) three-pointer would spark the Norse offense enough to close the gap before half. Madison Olsen (FR, St. Ignace, MI) hit a pair of free throws and a three pointer in the closing minutes of the first half, helping to cut the Bay deficit to just five at intermission.
The Norse continued to work back into the game in the third quarter. Haley Trudell (SO, Rock, MI) knocked down a shot from behind the three-point arc to tie the game with 6:30 left in the third. After a pair of stops, Kaitlyn Hardwick (SO, Gladstone, MI) gave Bay College their first lead of the game since the 7:30 mark in the first quarter. After Anoka-Ramsey reclaimed the lead, it was Trish McGuire's (FR, Gwinn, MI) turn to step up. Trailing by three, McGuire stole the ball and was fouled as she sunk a layup in transition. She sunk the free throw, tying the game at 40. The teams traded baskets, but the offensive struggles reappeared for the Norse. The Golden Rams went on a 13-2 run that included the last three minutes of the first quarter and nearly five minutes of the fourth quarter, putting the Norse in yet another double-digit deficit.
Bay responded, getting a layup from Hardwick and a three-pointer from Trudell to cut the lead to six with just over four to play. The time slipped to under two minutes before the Norse could cut to three on a pair of McGuire free throws. After a quick turnover, the Norse had a chance to put more pressure on their hosts, but were not able to convert. From that point Anoka-Ramsey took advantage of the lead with the time winding down, as the Norse put them on the line to earn it. The Golden Rams were four for four from the charity stripe in their final possessions, and they sealed the five-point victory on their home court.
Bay shot uncharacteristically poor throughout the matchup. They ended 35.7% from the floor, but just five of 21 from behind the three-point line. For the second consecutive night they struggled at the free throw line, converting just 15 of 27 attempts. While Anoka-Ramsey struggled from deep, just three of twenty from three, they converted 45.3% of their shots overall. The Golden Rams weren't much better from the free throw line, hitting 14 of 23 attempts.
"We had our opportunities this weekend," said Head Coach Rob Robinson, "but to tell you the truth we didn't deserve to win because of our free throw percentage. We have a great shooting team, probably one of the best I have ever had, but we missed a combined 29 free throws and lost two games by less than five points each. That really hurts. You can never question our team effort and I am always proud of what is on the floor, but we have to figure out how to win close games."
Anoka-Ramsey's Charo Nickens (SO, Brooklyn Park, MN) led all scorers with twenty points while grabbing 12 rebounds. Adaya Sandifer (SO, St. Paul, MN) added 11 points, five assists, and four rebounds, while Ariana Owens (SO, St. Paul, MN) and Madi Peschl (FR, Foley, MN) each scored ten points.
Hardwick finished her day just short of a double-double, scoring 15 points and grabbing nine rebounds. Trudell was three of seven from three-point and ended her day with 13 points and six rebounds, while JuliAnn Wickman (SO, Felch, MI) added 11 points.
The Norse will take some time off to enjoy the Holidays before returning to host the Quality Inn & Suites New Year's Tournament. On Friday, January 3 they will host Sault College for a 6 pm tip off. The event is being played in a true tournament style, so the matchups for January 4 are not known. Bay will face either Gogebic Community College or Western Tech at 11 am or 3 pm.