Small College Sports

No. 1 Kirkwood falls to No. 4 NIACC in ICCAC women's basketball showdown

Eagles convert just 15 of 29 free throws and 1 of 15 3-point baskets in 63-60 loss

CEDAR RAPIDS — The road to the national tournament just got a bit tougher for the Kirkwood women’s basketball team.

The Eagles, ranked No. 1 in NJCAA Division II, may see No. 4 NIACC three times this season. Despite the fact that the two teams are ranked in the top four in the county, there will be room for only one at nationals.

NIACC claimed an upper hand Wednesday night.

“The NJCAA, they need to take at-large bids,” Kirkwood Coach Kim Muhl said after the Eagles lost to NIACC, 63-60, in an Iowa Community College Athletic Conference game at Johnson Hall. “They do in every other division of JUCO. D-1 JUCO has eight at large. We have been on them to do that for many years. They don’t do it. It is just too bad. It is ridiculous that they don’t.”

Kirkwood (20-2, 7-1 ICCAC) possessed the lead on just six occasions, and never for more than two points. NIACC (22-1, 9-0) scored 11 of the final 18 points in the game to seal the win. Kirkwood, which entered the game shooting 69.3 percent from the free throw line, was nowhere near that number Wednesday night.

“We have got to make free throws,” Muhl said. “Fifteen for 29 is pretty poor. That is on them. They have got to make those shots. It is not hard.”

The rematch is set for Feb. 22 at Mason City, where Kirkwood, barring upsets, will likely need a victory to have a shot at hosting the regional tournament in March. The Eagles will also be seeking a better performance from beyond the 3-point line, where a team shooting 30.4 percent this season was just 1 of 15.

“Our perimeter has got to give us something,” Muhl said. “They gave us nothing. They got a little rattled with pressure ... and they do a great job of pressuring. We have got to be able to handle it and be strong with the ball.”

Paige Bradford led Kirkwood with 22 points, while Autam Mendez matched that number for NIACC.

Women’s basketball

AT JOHNSON HALL

No. 4 NIACC 63, No. 4 Kirkwood 60

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

NIACC (63): Sierra Lynch 3-14 8-12 16, Sanaa Smith 2-4 2-6 6, Kelcie Hale 1-9 1-2 3, Autam Mendez 6-13 6-8 22, Sierra Morrow 2-6 2-2 7, Miyah Walker 0-1 0-0 0, Allie Negen 0-1 0-0 0, Andrea Gray 0-0 0-0 0, Shinaana Secody 0-1 0-0 0, Abby Leach 2-3 0-0 6, Sydney Wetlaufer 0-3 2-2 2, Brooke Heisler 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 16-55 22-34 63.

KIRKWOOD (60): Paige Bradford 9-20 4-8 22, Tatiana Hodges-Johnson 2-4 1-4 5, Ju Gaston 3-8 6-6 12, Amara Lipsey 0-6 1-3 1, Marissa Metz 1-4 0-0 2, Delani Harris 0-0 0-0 0, Jheda Kennedy 1-3 2-2 4, Kortney Drake 3-6 0-2 7, Addison Rath 0-0 0-2 0, Natalie Tomaszewski 0-5 0-0 0, Kemara Watson 3-7 1-2 7. Totals 22-63 15-29 60.

Halftime — Kirkwood 28, NIACC 28. 3-point goals — NIACC 9-32 (Lynch 2-6, Smith 0-2, Hale 0-6, Mendez 4-7, Morrow 1-3, Walker 0-1, Negen 0-1, Leach 2-3, Wetlaufer 0-3), Kirkwood 1-15 (Bradford 0-1, Gaston 0-1, Lipsey 0-5, Metz 0-2, Drake 1-4, Tomaszewski 0-2). Rebounds — NIACC 31 (Hale 9), Kirkwood 45 (Bradford 8). Assists — NIACC 10 (Hale 5), Kirkwood 5 (Bradford, Lipsey, Metz, Drake, Tomaszewski 1). Steals — NIACC 4 (Hale 2), Kirkwood 6 (Hodges-Johnson 2). Turnovers — NIACC 9, Kirkwood 15. Fouls — NIACC 23, Kirkwood 23. Fouled out — NIACC (Morrow). Technicals — none.

Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.