SIOUX CITY -- There are still plenty of games left in the regular season, but Briar Cliff and Jamestown are battling for spots in the Great Plains Athletic Conference women’s basketball tournament.
Therefore, every win is a big one and Briar Cliff staged a second-half rally to edge the Jimmies 54-53 Wednesday at the Newman Flanagan Center.
Each team came into the game with identical records of 10-9 overall and 4-7 in the GPAC, currently tied for the eighth and final spot in the postseason tourney.
Jamestown scored the game’s first 11 points and things looked bleak for the Chargers. But despite shooting just 30 percent in the first half, they trailed by only five points, 24-19, at intermission.
Logan Ehlers, who finished with team highs of 15 points and nine rebounds, led a third-quarter charge by BCU. The sophomore from Shenandoah, Iowa, hit a basket and 3-pointer to start a 12-0 run and scored nine points in the quarter.
Briar Cliff forged a 38-34 lead through three stanzas and was ahead 47-40 with 6:22 remaining, but didn’t score again for nearly four minutes.
In the meantime, Jamestown regained the lead, 48-47, with three minutes left. The Jimmies, though, went on a drought of their own and didn’t score until a meaningless 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Freshman Madelyn Deitchler put in a rebound shot at the 2:42 mark to give the Chargers a 49-48 edge and Ehlers followed with a putback.
After Jamestown pulled within a point and Taylor Wagner made the second of two free throws, Briar Cliff led 52-50 at the 1:06 mark. Jamestown had two chances to tie or take the lead but turned it over both times and Wagner made two free throws with 23.5 ticks left.
Jamestown let a lot of seconds tick off the clock before finally shooting in the waning seconds. A jump ball resulted but there was just .8 seconds left and the Chargers let the Jimmies inbound as time ran out.
“We played a good defensive game but just didn’t seem to do the things on offense that we could do,” Briar Cliff Coach Mike Power said. “We shot 30 percent in the first half but came out and had a really good third quarter. We defended, got some steals and breakaways, then found a way to hang on at the end.”
Wagner, one of only two seniors on the BCU roster, totaled 14 points, five rebounds and four assists. The Chargers shot much better in the second half, making 13 of 24 (54.2 percent).
“At the end of the day a win’s a win in the GPAC,” Wagner said. “We just have to look to attack and be more aggressive on offense. We get in trouble when we hesitate, so we really need to take that over into Saturday.”
For now, Briar Cliff, which has followed a see-saw pattern of winning a game and then losing the next of late, holds down the eighth and final spot.
The Chargers, however, have a date at No. 3 Concordia Saturday.
Jameston struggled mightily from the field the entire game, winding up 15 of 59 for a paltry 25.4 percent. The Jimmies launched 43 3-pointers, making 11. Emma Stoehr scored a game-high 17 points while Allison Jablonsky added 15 points.
Briar Cliff avenged a 65-51 loss at Jamestown in the opening conference game of the season.
“In the GPAC there is no night off, every team you play is going to be great,” Power said. “We expected the kind of pressure but the bottom line is, at the end of the day it’s a win.”