Triton women fall just short

The Iowa Central women and third-ranked (NJCAA, Div. II) Kirkwood put up a tournament-like atmosphere here Saturday afternoon inside Hodges Fieldhouse.

With neither squad giving an inch, it was the Eagles who made the plays down the stretch, scoring a 72-69 victory and improving to 61-1 over the past four seasons in ICCAC league action.

Kirkwood (24-3 overall, 13-0 in league) built a five-point lead in the final two minutes, and that was enough, as St. Edmond graduate Theresa Doyle’s potential game-tying three at the buzzer rimmed out for the Tritons (18-7, 9-4).

“We just didn’t execute in crunch time,” said ICCC head coach Craig Carlson. “We didn’t handle the ball well.

“We did do a good job battling on the boards against a much taller team, but we threw away several possessions late in the game that could have tied it or given us the lead.”

Miliakere Koyamainavure led Iowa Central with 15 points, while Lydia Harvey added 14 and Babaya Oja contributed 11. Oja also had eight rebounds, while Harvey grabbed seven from their guard positions.

“Credit Babaye and Lydia, because they battled tough to get those loose balls,” Carlson said. “I’m just bothered by the mental mistakes that we made. We threw the ball around, we missed free throws and we missed several uncontested layups.”

The Tritons shot just 14 of 22 from the line, but did make 11 three-pointers to off-set Kirkwood’s plus-seven rebound advantage and eight more points off turnovers.

Kianna Jacobs had a game-high 25 for the Eagles and eight boards, while Friday Chuol scored 16 and Bianca Dufelmeier chipped in 11.

“I thought, for the most part, we did a good job of defending the post,” Carlson said. “We just let them get too many easy baskets.

“We had plenty of opportunities, we just couldn’t capitalize.”

Iowa Central took a 35-33 lead into halftime after Allison Seibert drained a three-pointer at the buzzer. Kirkwood, though, would make the first run of the second half, and led throughout after the nine-minute mark.

Next up for the Tritons is a Wednesday encounter with NJCAA Div. I foe Iowa Western (23-5). Tip is set for 6 p.m. inside Hodges Fieldhouse.