by Steve Peterson
History did indeed repeat itself and for the Morningside women’s basketball team, Shelby Beaudette’s habit of being the deciding factor against Northwestern College meant the difference in a 63-60 Mustangs’ win Jan. 16.
Beaudette’s basket with 3.2 seconds left broke a 60-60 tie and the senior finished with 24 points. It was the second game in a row for Beaudette, a senior from Walthill, Neb., put the dagger in the hearts of the three-time defending NAIA Division II National Champions, as she had done so in 72-70 Morningside win over Northwestern on Nov. 20 with four seconds left. She also scored 27 points for a career-high in a 90-83 Morningside win in the semifinals of last season’s GPAC Post-Season Tournament against Northwestern.
“We have been running that play all game. I just had to make a decision at the end and I shot it and it went in. With these two great teams you never know what is going to happen, it is always a great match-up. They are usually very exciting games,” said Beaudette.
The Mustangs rallied from a 60-56 deficit with 1:47 left gained by the Red Raiders on two Kendra De Jong free throws. The Mustangs got four points in the comeback at the free-throw line, by Chelsie Trask with 1:11 left and Beaudette, for a 62-60 deficit with 50 seconds left. After a Northwestern miss the Mustangs set up Beaudette’s game winner from 10 feet. Jordyn Wolenburg then came up with a steal and a free throw for a three-point Morningside lead with 0:02 seconds left.
Morningside held Northwestern without a field goal for the final 2:24 of the game.
“I think we just stick together. We knew we had to step it up. We don’t panic. We know we have players who can make big plays,” said Beaudette. “You have to guard every single one of our players, and I just happened to have the open shot. They were focusing on our three-pointers and they let us drove (to the basket) and that was open for me. On the last play, I can take it or kick it out for a three-pointer, all kinds of options.
“This win was huge for our momentum. We had lost two in a row (to Concordia and Mount Marty). We really needed this win and this will keep us back on track.
“She is always a calm player. We want her to play with a little more fire and drive. You can tell when she shot it that she was concentrating,” said Morningside Coach Jamie Sale. “It was a tough shot and we have a lot of faith in her. We had set up a screen for her. It was ‘Shelby make a play.’ She has been doing that her whole career. We will need her to do that the rest of the year. She’s a great player. She’s a very good shooter and passer and now she’s back at Point Guard.”
“The win was huge for us because three in a row would have hurt our psyche,” said Sale.
Bobbi McManaman, a senior from Hawarden, had an impact in the first half. She made two three-pointers, two-for-seven all field goal attempts, and had one assist.
She is a West Sioux alum.
Mackenzie Small, a Hinton alum playing for Northwestern, had two points.
With the win the Mustangs took over sole possession of second place in the GPAC standings with a 9-3 league record. The Mustangs, 17-4 overall record, had entered the game tied for second place with Northwestern, which was 14-5 overall and 8-4 in the GPAC. The Red Raiders had entered the contest with nine victories in their last 10 games. Concordia University led the women’s basketball standings.
Aside from Beaudette’s game-high 24 pints, the Mustangs also received a double figure scoring effort from Ashylnn Muhl, who scored 10 points. Leann Osten and Hanna Blum were next with eight points each.
All-American De Jong paced the Red Raiders with 17 points. Cassidy Breon had 12 and Alli Dunkelburger added 10.
Morningside overcame 33.8 percent shooting performance to win the contest, using a positive 24-13 turnover differential as the equalizer. Northwestern won the points in the paint area, 38-30, and fast-break points, 10-2.
The Mustangs outbrebounded Northwestern 39-37 behind eight rebounds each from Muhl and Blum. De Jong collected a game-high nine rebounds for the Red Raiders.
Dunkelberger dealt a game-high five assists, while Osteen led all performers with five steals.
Morningside trailed 27-25 at halftime following an opening 20 minutes when it made only 29 percent of its field goal attempts. The Mustangs wee held scoreless for almost five minutes to start the game before Blum ended the drought with a hoop at the 15:04 mark for a 7-2 margin. McManaman then made a three-pointer for an 11-5 deficit and after an Osteen lay-up, added her second for an 11-10 deficit with 10:52 left in the first half.
Morningside turned the tide for a 22-17 lead but Northwestern went on a 10-3 scoring spree to close out the half with the lead, 27-25.
In the second half, Muhl gave the Mustangs a tie at 52-52 with a lay-up with 4:16 remaining.
Notes: Morningside was ranked fourth and Northwestern 11th in the NAIA Division II latest poll…about 1,400 people attended the game and many came early.