January 7, 2004
Bearcats Handle Missouri Western, 69-53
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Sarah Vollertsen (Sr., Palmyra, Neb.) broke the Northwest Missouri State record for career blocked shots and recorded a double-double Wednesday night at the Missouri Western Field House. Ashely Poptanycz (Jr., Westboro, Mo.) scored a team-high 16 points for the Bearcats.
The duo led Northwest to a 69-53 victory over Missouri Western State College. It was the Bearcats' first victory over the Griffons in St. Joseph since 1997.
The contest was tight through the first 10 minutes, with five lead changes. The Bearcats clung to a one-point lead, 15-14, with 9:48 remaining in the first half. But a Vollertsen bucket sparked a 15-1 outburst for Northwest over the next six minutes. The Bearcats' center also capped the scoring spurt with a basket in the paint. Six of Vollertsen's 14 points came during the run, which left Northwest on top 30-15 with just less than four mintues remaining until halftime.
The 'Cats took a 12-point lead into the intermission, 34-22. Jenna Wolfe (Sr., Clay Center, Kan.) and Vollertsen each scored at the beginning of the second half, pushing the Northwest lead to 16 points, 38-22.
But Missouri Western wouldn't go down without a fight. The Griffons outscored Northwest 19-11 in a six-minute span, pulling within six points, 47-41, at the 12:25 mark. The two squads traded buckets for the next five minutes. With eight minutes to play, the Bearcats still led by just six, 52-46.
A Poptanycz three-point play, the old-fashioned way, sparked a 14-0 Northwest outburst. Poptanycz took a pass on the fast break from Laura Friederich (Soph., Overland Park, Kan.), scored the layup, was fouled and then sank the free throw. Poptanycz also hit a three-point field goal during the run. Just more than four minutes after Poptanycz started the spurt, Vollertsen hit a bucket inside, pushing Northwest's lead to 20, 66-46.
Northwest cruised to the 16-point victory from there. Although Poptanycz and Vollertsen were the only double-figure scorers for Northwest, 10 different Bearcats scored at least two points in the contest. Friederich dished out six assists in teh contest. Vollertsen made five steals to go along with her 14-point, 14-rebound performance.
Northwest is now 10-2 overall and 3-0 in the MIAA. This is the Bearcats' best start in MIAA play since 1997-98.
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Phillip Dowden, Media Relations/Sports Information
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