Lady Pioneers’ season ends in semifinals

Star Staff
Monday, March 2, 2020
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The Lady Pioneers fell in the semifinals to the North Dakota State College of Science in the NJCAA Region WIII tournament in Bismarck.

After a strong first round the Miles Community College Pioneers women’s basketball team fell in the semifinals to North Dakota State College of Science in the NJCAA Region XIII women’s basketball tournament in Bismarck, North Dakota.

The No. 3 seeded Lady Pioneers opened the Region XIII tournament with a strong win over Williston State College, beating them 79-54 but hit a snag in the semifinals. In their second match up of the tournament, the Lady Pioneers ran up against No. 2 seeded North Dakota State College of Science and fell to them 64-59, ending their tournament and their season.

MCC, despite their poor shooting, only trailed by 6 at halftime, even cutting the lead to just one point in the third quarter. NDSCS went on a 7-0 run in the third to push their lead to 8, and they managed to hold on to the lead till the end.

The Lady Pioneers really struggled offensively in their semifinals loss to NDSCS, shooting just 28.4% from the field, but their 35.7% from three-point range was above their season average. The team also missed 10 of their 21 free throw attempts, which could have made a huge difference in the game.

On the defensive end, the Lady Pioneers have been strong all season. In the semifinals, they held NDSCS to 35.5% shooting from the field and 25% from three-point range. From the free throw line NDSCS was 14-20.

The Lady pioneers also were out rebounded in the game, losing the rebounding battle 58-36, with NDSCS grabbing 19 offensive rebounds.

Team regular season leading scorer Binta Salawu led the charge for the Lady Pioneers, scoring 21 points, while grabbing 7 rebounds, dishing out 4 rebounds, and snagging 4 steals in the game. In 40 minutes of play, the 5-foot-4-inch sophomore guard had the offensive load on her shoulders, leading to a poor shooting day but staying aggressive got her to the free throw line 8 times in the game.

Sophomore forward Claire Borot, the team’s second leading scorer on the season recorded a double-double in the game. The 6-foot forward scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the game while dishing out 2 assists, grabbing 2 steals and blocking 2 shots in the game. Borot is one of the Lady Pioneers who has improved the most from the first half of the season to the second, being one of the reason for the Lady Pioneers improvements.

Freshman forward Lili Long, who returned from an injury for the tournament opening win against Williston State College, put in 10 points for the Pioneers while grabbing 2 rebounds and dishing out 2 assists.

For NDSCS, forward Zaraya March dominated in the paint, scoring 20 points on 7-14 shooting from the field while grabbing 16 rebounds, including 5 offensive rebounds. March also had 3 assists and 3 steals in the game. Forward Nikki Metcalfe also recorded at double-double, scoring 13 points on 4-9 from the field and grabbing 15 rebounds, including 4 offensive rebounds.

In the Lady Pioneers tournament opening game, they dominated the Tetons from Williston State College, beating them 79-54.

In a rare event, Salawu didn’t score in double figures in the game, as the defense keyed in on her. The rest of the Pioneer starters stepped up their game though, carrying the team to a huge tournament win.

Freshman guard Olyvia Pacheco led the team with 18 points on 8-16 shooting from the field. The 5-foot-5-inch guard also grabbed 6 rebounds in the game.

Head coach Taylor Harris’ first season as MCC’s head coach ended with a 19-13 record, 10-4 in MonDak play. The Lady Pioneers held court in Miles City, going 12-3 at the Centra. They struggled on the road a bit, going 5-7, with a 2-3 record at neutral sites.

Borot neared a double-double in the game, scoring 15 points and grabbing 9 rebounds, with 4 on the offensive glass.

Sophomore forward Kate Golovkina scored 11 points and grabbed 7 rebounds for the Lady Pioneers. Long, in her return to the Pioneers lineup, scored 11 points in just 11 minutes of play. The Lady Pioneers will be saying good-bye to sophomores Claire Borot, Binta Salawu, Ekaterina Golovkina and KP Hoffman.