By dave dakken •
The women’s basketball team at Mayville State University had another fine year come to an end. They finished with a 24-6 record and won the North Star Athletic Association Tournament to culminate conference play at 12-2.
They defeated the regular-season conference champ, Dakota State, for the tournament title, which earned them a berth in the NAIA National tournament. They traveled March 7-8 to Sioux Center, Iowa for the first and second rounds of the tournament, hosted by Dordt University.
The University of Science and Arts-Oklahoma was dispatched by the Comets in the first round 77-67. Dordt was the second-round opponent, and why a team in a national tournament is allowed to play on their home floor is a stretch of logic and fairness. It is a tremendous advantage, win or lose.
Not saying that was the only reason Mayville lost to the Dordt Defenders. Dordt is a very good team. They were ranked in the top five in the NAIA National Poll throughout the year, fourth in the final poll, and were the No. 5 seed overall.
Except for one quarter, the second, the Comets played darn near even with Dordt. Dordt scored 18 points in the first quarter, the Comets 15. Mayville scored 20 points in the third quarter, Dordt 18. Dordt had 15 in the final quarter, Mayville 12.
The Comets had an 11-2 lead early before Dordt exploded going into the second quarter. The Defenders became offenders at that point, putting 31 points on the board!
Mayville drew as close as 10 points later, but they didn’t catch up. The final score was 82-66.
Jordan Zrust led the team with 23 points, adding eight rebounds, three assists and a steal. Erin Walcker 13 points with four rebounds and two steals. CJ Decker was also in double figures with 11 points and she had two steals. The other two starters, Jes Mertens and Mackenzie Hughes had nine and eight points, respectively. Mertens grabbed five boards with three steals and Hughes added three rebounds and two more steals.
Head coach Dennis Hutter commented, “We knew they would shoot well.” Dordt shot 60 percent from the floor. Anyone think home floor didn’t make a difference?
“And we struggled shooting, just eight for 30 on three-pointers. But we competed well except for the second quarter.” Hutter added, “It was a good experience for us, playing a good team like Dordt. We saw, in them, what it takes, what you have to do to be at that level. And, I think our starting five can play with anyone in the country. Now we just have to go out and do it.”
The last three games of this season Mayville played ranked opponents and beat two of them. Dakota State was 24th, Science and Arts was 25th and, as mentioned, Dordt was fourth.
Don’t forget this little bit of information: the Comets have everyone returning next year!
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