Triton women topple DMACC

The ninth-ranked (NJCAA, Div. II) Iowa Central women held serve on their home court here Wednesday night, scoring an 81-71 victory over Des Moines Area.

With the win, the Tritons remain in control of their own destiny as far as claiming runner-up honors in the ICCAC this year to No. 1 North Iowa, who comes to Hodges Fieldhouse on Saturday to conclude the regular season.

The Trojans (26-2 overall, 14-0 in league) have already claimed the league title, while Iowa Central (24-4, 12-3) is a game-and-a-half ahead of No. 11 Kirkwood (22-6, 10-4).

If the Tritons and Eagles finish tied, though, Kirkwood holds the tiebreaker and would secure the No. 2 seed in next week’s conference tournament.

“This was a big one for us,” said an exhausted Craig Carlson after the final buzzer sounded. “Nothing was easy, and DMACC gave us everything they had.

“I was proud of the way we battled back, especially after getting behind early.”

Mikiakere Koyamainavure led five Tritons in double figures with 18 points. Lydia Harvey and Katie Dentlinger each scored 16, Babaye Oja had 13 and Ashley Ray dropped in 10 – all of which came in the second half when Iowa Central outscored the Bears (18-12, 10-6) 43-34.

DMACC’s Carlee Schuhmacher, who has already signed to play at North Carolina State next year, scored a game-high 35 points. Taryn Wicks added 24, but the rest of the team accounted for just 12.

“That’s just great to see,” said Carlson, of his balanced scoring. “I thought we really moved the ball well and kept looking for a better shot throughout the game for the most part.”

The Bears jumped on top early, claiming a 16-3 advantage after seven minutes of play. The rest of the opening half, though, belonged to Iowa Central, as they used runs of 17-2 and 10-1 to head into halftime up by one.

“I thought Chayil Henderson’s basket at the end of the first half was huge,” Carlson said. “And Ashley just came out and played the kind of second half we were expecting from her after recruiting her.

“We’re still working without a point guard (Theresa Doyle injured her knee) and it looks like it sometimes out there, but credit the girls because they continue to battle and do all the little things we need them to do to win.”

After racing out to a 51-39 lead just minutes into the second half, the Tritons were forced to sweat the final moments after a handful of turnovers and six missed free throws down the stretch.

Schuhmacher and Wicks scored 28 of DMACC’s 34 points in the final 20 minutes, including all but two field goals.

Iowa Central is now a perfect 14-0 at home this year and has won six in a row. They also continued to climb make a mark in the school’s all-time record books.

Through 28 games, the Tritons have made 253 three-pointers, which is good enough for third-all-time. Their 253 attempted three-pointers is second-most, while their per game scoring average of 86.2 is almost 10 better than the current best.