Triton women clear century mark

Iowa Central women’s head coach Craig Carlson never saw Wednesday night’s final outcome vs. Northeast Nebraska coming.

Carlson watched plenty of game film, and talked to several coaches, in preparation for the Hawks – a Div. I junior college program – and expected a low-scoring affair.

Instead, the No. 14 (NJCAA, Div. II) Tritons posted a 105-95 victory, hanging on in a game filled with fouls and a late-rally by Northeast Nebraska.

Former St. Edmond all-stater Lydia Harvey led Iowa Central (13-2 overall) with 32 points, swishing five three-pointers. The High Point University signee posted 18 in the opening half.

Miliakere Koyamainavure added 22 points and 10 rebounds before becoming the first of seven players to foul out – including four Triton starters.

“I’ve never seen anything like that,” an exhausted Carlson said. “I’m at a loss for words. After seeing the way (Northeast Nebraska) played defense, I never in my wildest dreams thought we would score 105 points.

“Lydia played the game of her life, as did the entire team. This was a huge win for us because many people I’ve talked to told me this would be the best team we play all year.”

Iowa Central’s conference currently features No. 1 NIACC and No. 2 Kirkwood, along with several other high-caliber programs. The Hawks (14-1) were receiving votes in the latest poll for Div. I teams and topped Kirkwood earlier this year by 16 points.

“Mili really had several big-time plays for us, taking the ball to the basket,” Carlson said. “And they just had no answer for Lydia. When she is driving to the hoop, it opens up everything for her.

“(Harvey) was knocking down three-pointers and creating off the dribble; she was just unstoppable (Wednesday night).”

Babaye Oja added 17 points and Katie Dentlinger tallied 12. Both grabbed four rebounds.

The Tritons appeared to be on their way to an easy victory before Northeast Nebraska cut into a 21-point lead late in the second half behind Alison Klostergaard and Lexi Murphy.

Klostergaard scored 23 before fouling out, while Murphy posted 21.

“We got a little tentative late in the game and that’s probably on us coaches,” Carlson said. “We wanted to limit the amount of possessions, but we hurt our offense by doing that.”

Along with 200 total points, the game featured 71 fouls and 101 free throw attempts. Iowa Central hit on 41 of 52 at the line, compared to 30-for-49 by the Hawks.

“Katie stepped up late and knocked down some big free throws, as did Mili,” Carlson said. “Jasmine (Binion) also was a key for us off the bench, especially with all the foul trouble.”

Iowa Central has now won four in a row and 11 of its last 12 since an overtime loss to Kirkwood. They travel to Keokuk to face Southeastern (3-11, 0-2) on Saturday at 1 p.m.