Spartans Take Care of Buena Vista for Chance at First Conference Title
Feb 19, 2015 | None
DUBUQUE, Iowa – A 17-3 run to end the first half provided senior Jenna Kotas and the University of Dubuque women’s basketball team all the cushion they needed to put away Buena Vista handedly, 90-75, on Wednesday night.
The win kept the Spartans tied atop the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) standings with Luther (10-3). The two will matchup this Saturday for the IIAC regular season championship. UD tries for its first women’s basketball IIAC basketball title after finishing a team-best second place last year.
Kotas finished the game with a game-high 24 points, including 18 in the first, as the Spartans (16-8, 10-3 Iowa Conference) turned a two-point advantage into a 16-point halftime lead over the final 5:30 of the first period.
After a competitive start, the Beavers (8-16, 3-10 Iowa Conference) couldn’t hang with the quick paced Spartans as Abbey Meyer’s offensive putback sparked an 8-0 Spartan run capped by a Kotas layup with 2:11 to go. With the Spartans sporting a double-digit lead, Buena Vista countered with a layup and later a free throw as UD continued to pile it on heading into the half.
It was night and day for Kotas after scoring eight of UD’s first 10 points in response to a rough last outing at Wartburg where she didn’t score until there was less than nine minutes remaining in the game. Nearly unstoppable, Kotas shot 5 of 6 from the field with two three-pointers and 6 of 7 free throw shooting in the first.
The Beavers never threatened in the second half and would come no closer than 12 points of the Spartans despite shooting 50% from the field. Meyer’s lightning quick drives and ability to get to the line helped protect the lead throughout as she totaled a team-high nine points in the second half. The former Cascade prep shot 5 of 6 overall, including a perfect 4-for-4 at the line, in an IIAC career-high 14-point performance.
Meyer’s efforts anchored a Spartan bench that outscored their Beaver counterparts, 34-17, on the night. Starter Jasmyn Flynn-Graves led the Beavers in scoring with 22 points and six rebounds in 25 minutes of play.
Meggie Schmidt, already fifth all-time in career steals with 171, pick-pocketed a game-high four Beavers as she continued her ascension up the all-time ladder. Schmidt also added 15 points, five rebounds, four assists, and one block in one of her top all-around games.
The Spartans, tops in the IIAC in three-point percentage defense, limited Buena Vista to a 6 of 24 showing from beyond the arc and won the battle in points off turnovers, 30-14. After converting a season-high 35 of 49 free throws in their previous matchup, the Spartans shot 21 of 26 at the charity stripe in tonight’s victory.
UD has now won eight of its last 10 meetings with the Beavers and its second straight in the series.
Luther comes to town this Saturday, February 21 at 2:00 p.m. for the IIAC regular season championship in the final regular season game of the IIAC slate. The Norse (20-4, 10-3) defeated Wartburg, 67-57, on Wednesday night. Luther beat UD at home, 80-70, in their previous meeting.