SIOUX CITY, IOWA – Jessi Beachey (Jr.-Fisher, Ill.) scored all 19 of her points in the second half and Iowa Wesleyan College advanced to the Elite 8 of the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Tournament for the first time in school history with a 72-60 win over Jamestown (N.D.) College Friday at the Tyson Events Center.
IWC moved to the national quarterfinals and avenged a regular season loss to the second-seeded Jimmies, improving to 27-7 this season. The third-seeded Tigers now move on to the tourney’s third round on Saturday and will face #1 seed Northwestern (Iowa) College at 3 p.m.
The Tigers battled through injuries and got the better of a physical war thanks to a big second half from Beachey and a terrific defensive performance. Wesleyan also won the rebounding battle and was excellent at the free throw line, making 24 of 26 foul shots (92.3%).
IWC gained control in the second half with a 20-5 run and then withstood a late charge by the Jimmies as well as an injury to Sheray Brown (Jr.-Detroit, Mich.). After the teams traded shots in an even first half that resulted in a 31-30 halftime lead for Wesleyan, Jamestown came out strong and pulled out to a 37-33 lead with 17:42 to go in the game.
The Tigers responded by limiting the Jimmies to five points over the next nine minutes, and extended the lead to 53-42 despite Brown and Anna Jones (So.-Cornell, Ill.) both being knocked out of the game with 13:21 left after a collision under the basket. Jones would eventually return later in the half, but Beachey took over in the paint with three field goals and 13 of 14 free throws made in the second half.
Jamestown was far from finished, though, and got within 57-55 with 4:20 left after a three-pointer by Krista Shaikoski. Jill Ginder (Jr.-Olney, Ill.) came up with an answer, though, with a three-pointer the next time down, and after another Jimmies’ basket Beachey converted in the paint for a five-point lead. Shaikoski missed a three-pointer on the next time down, and Beachey converted a pair of free throws on Wesleyan’s next possession. Jamestown never got closer than five the rest of the way, and IWC made all eight free throws in the final two minutes to salt the game away.
Wesleyan limited the Jimmies to 35.5% shooting (22-for-62), including just three made three-pointers in 23 attempts (13.0%). The Tigers also out-rebounded their opponent 44-35 and forced 18 turnovers with their attacking full-court defense.
Beachey and Melanie McCreight (Jr.-Winfield, Iowa) both had 19 points to lead IWC. McCreight also hit 3 of 5 three-point tries and had 10 points in the first half to keep the Tigers’ afloat offensively. Jones also had 14 points and team highs of nine rebounds and four assists, while Ginder added 11 points. Brown also had seven rebounds in 18 minutes before exiting the game with a knee injury, and her status for the rest of the tournament is questionable.
IWC shot 39.3% for the game, hitting 22 of 56 shots from the field including four three-pointers in 12 attempts. Wesleyan also was 19 of 20 from the free throw line in the second half. The Tigers’ previous furthest advancement in the NAIA tourney was in 2007, when IWC defeated Menlo (Calif.) College in the first round before losing to Taylor (Ind.) University in the second round.
Jamestown, a member of the Dakota Athletic Conference, finished the season with a 26-7 record and was led by Giuli Villiano with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Allison Epping added 12 points and five rebounds off the bench. The Jimmies won the first meeting between the two teams on Nov. 27 by an 83-77 score, snapping Wesleyan’s 25-game homecourt winning steak coming into the season.
IWC’s game on Saturday will again be broadcast by KILJ 105.5 FM in Mount Pleasant and on the Web at www.kilj.com. Chris Varney and Nick Juskewycz will again call the game. The game also will be available to watch online on a pay-per-view basis at www.watchnaia.com.
For more information regarding the IWC basketball programs or any of the Tiger athletic teams, contact sports information director Adam Glatczak (319-385-6306 phone; 319-385-6384 FAX; firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail) or log on to IWC's athletics web site at www.iwc.edu/athletics.
Box score #3 IWC 72 #2 Jamestown 60