Wis.-Parkside holds off Miners
Rangers earn first NCAA tourney win
HOUGHTON, Mich. – The sixth-seeded Missouri S&T Miners hadn’t played a game since a Feb. 26 loss to Lewis Flyers in the opening round of the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament, and the rust associated with such a break proved detrimental for the Miners, as they missed 11 of their first 13 shots in the opening 8 minutes of play against the third-seeded Wisconsin-Parkside Rangers.
The Rangers had no early shooting issues of their own, as they downed 14 of their first 15 shots en route to a 73-55 victory, in the first quarterfinal matchup of the NCAA Midwest Regional Tournament. It was the Rangers’ first NCAA Tournament victory.
“I thought our kids came out and played with a lot of intensity from the get-go,” Rangers head coach Jenny Kenesie said. “We were really aggressive early and took a lot of high-percentage shots.”
Guard Jadee Rooney got the Rangers on the board with a layup after the Miners missed their first shot. Over the next 8 minutes, the Rangers pushed their advantage to eight, 12-4, thanks in large part to their hot shooting and the Miners’ inability to hit much of anything. Rooney would go on to put up 26 before the game was over.
“We’re just trying to make a name for ourselves,” said Rooney. “We knew what we had to do and we know that everyone steps up this time of year.”
The Rangers would push their advantage to 31-10 with 5:39 remaining in the half after a layup from Rooney. The Miners finally got their feet underneath them after a layup from forward Fareedah Washington gave the Miners four consecutive points. The Miners continued on an 11-2 run that included a 3-pointer from guard Katelyn Heil.
“We were rusty after our two-week layoff,” Miners head coach Alan Eads said. “It showed early in the game.”
The Miners cut the Rangers’ lead to 10, 32-22, with 10 seconds left in the half after a pair of free throws from Washington, but that was the closest they would get. Rangers’ guard Kaitlyn Bettiga hit a key jumper at the end of the half to give the Rangers a 12-point advantage at the half.
The Miners battled back within seven, 42-35, in the first 5 minutes of the second half. The Rangers pulled ahead by 10 before the Miners cut the lead to six, 44-38, after a 3-pointer from guard Chelsea Stangel. The Rangers would respond as Rooney drained back-to-back 3-pointers to push their lead to 17, 57-40.
The Rangers extended their lead to 20 with less than a minute to go after a layup from forward Danielle Slivka. Washington finished the game with the final layup, but it was too little, too late as the Rangers held onto the ball for the final possession to get the win.