March 3, 2004
Bearcats Advance to MIAA Title Game
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - For the first time since the inaugural MIAA Tournament, the Northwest Missouri State women's basketball team will play for a conference tournament championship. The 'Cats advanced to the title game by defeating Washburn, 76-68, Saturday afternoon in Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City.
Erica Hatterman (Sr., Lost Springs, Kan.) nailed two three-point jumpers to help the 'Cats out to an early 8-2 lead. The Northwest lead reached as many as seven before the Lady Blues began their comeback. An 8-2 run by Washburn closed the gap to one with just over 14 minutes left.
The game stayed close for the next couple of minutes before Washburn took a 18-17 lead at the 11:53 mark. Washburn then jumped out to a seven point lead two and a half minutes later, but the Bearcats were determined. A three-point field goal by Jane Chalmers (Sr., Echuca, Australia) sparked a 9-2 Bearcat run that tied the game at 26-26 with just over six minutes left in the half.
The two teams traded baskets for much of the rest of the half. A three-point bucket by Washburn's Lora Westling gave the Lady Blues a 35-31 lead at the 3:35 mark, which marked the team's largest lead for the remainder of the first stanza. Two free throws by Chalmers brought Northwest within two, and then a layup by Chalmers tied the game at 37-37 with 2:15 remaining.
Westling hit two free throws to put Washburn up by two, and at the other end of the floor, Sarah Vollertsen (Sr., Palmyra, Neb.) drained a layup to tie the game. Following a defensive stop, Chalmers hit a bucket that gave Northwest the lead, but an impressive layup by Juwanna Rivers at the buzzer tied the game at 41-41, heading into halftime.
The story of the second half was the Bearcat defense. Northwest held the Lady Blues without a bucket for the first seven minutes and 26 seconds of the second half. In the meantime, a 13-3 run by the 'Cats broke open the game. During the run, the Bearcats led by as many as 12 and hit six shots of their own to pull away.
However, the 11th-ranked Lady Blues would not go quietly. After hitting their first bucket, Washburn scored nine of the next 11 points to pull within one with 7:31 left to play. The Bearcat offense then sprang back to life and shot their way back to a nine-point advantage with just over four minutes to play.
The Lady Blues continued to fight but were unable to get any closer than four points. After Washburn got to within four, Brooke Hogue (Sr., Albany, Mo.) nailed a huge three-point field goal to give Northwest some insurance. The 'Cats hit five of seven free throws in the final two minutes to put the game away.
Vollertsen notched her eight double-double of the season with 20 points and 10 boards. Fourteen of Vollertsen's 20 points came in the second half and all 10 of her rebounds came on the defensive end of the floor. Hogue added 18 points, while Chalmers chipped in with 13 points and ninte assists.
The 'Cats advance to Sunday's championship game for a rematch with the Emporia State Lady Hornets. Emporia took both matchups between the two teams during the regular season.
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Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics
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