Yellowjacket women win third straight UMAC playoff title

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A strong second half propelled the University of Wisconsin-Superior women’s basketball team to its third straight UMAC playoff championship with a 66-54 win over Bethany Lutheran Saturday night at Mertz Mortorelli Gym.

Former Superior Spartan Hailey Kontny was named the tournament MVP. The senior had 27 points and nine rebounds Saturday to go along with 13 points and 11 rebounds in Wednesday’s win over Northwestern in the semifinals.

The Yellowjackets, 54-0 overall in their three seasons in the UMAC, are the first women’s basketball team to represent the UMAC in the NCAA Division III tournament three times. They are also the only program to win back-to-back postseason titles in UMAC Division III history.

Despite having the experience of a championship team, the No. 1 Yellowjackets came out tentative early and the No. 2 Vikings took full advantage of the opportunity to take a 6-2 lead.

The game was then tied three times in the opening quarter before the Yellowjackets led 14-13 at the first break.

The Yellowjackets led by as many as five in the first two minutes of the second quarter before the Vikings’ 8-0 run gave them a 29-22 lead with 1:22 left in the half.

UWS followed with a 5-0 run to pull within 29-27 at the intermission.

Superior’s run eventually made it to 21-2 in the third quarter for a 43-31 lead with three minutes left.

The UWS lead eventually made it 19 points (54-35) with just seconds remaining in the third quarter and looked as if the game was sealed.

However, the Vikings didn’t quite go away and pulled within 10 (56-46) on a Abby Olson free throw with around 5 minutes remaining.

Foul trouble started to haunt the Vikings and Olson — who led her team with 13 points — fouled out with a little more than four minutes remaining.

UWS recovered and eventually took a 64-46 lead before settling with the 12-point victory.

The Yellowjackets also got nine points and a game-high 16 rebounds from Hannah Norlin.

In addition to Olson’s 13 points, Haley Sandin finished with 11 points and Hannah Geistfeld had nine.

UWS will play at UW-Whitewater (24-3) in the first round of the NCAA tournament Friday. Gustavus Adolphus and Rose-Hulman (Ind.) will also play Friday with the winners playing Saturday.

BETHANY LUTHERAN (20-7, 12-4)

Abby Olson 4-13 5-5 13; Haley Sandin 3-12 4-11 11; Hann Geistfeld 3-9 3-3 9; Dakota Ellinghuysen 4-7 0-0 8; Brooke Henning 3-9 0-0 6; Alli Carlson 1-1 0-0 2; Melodie DeVlaeminck 1-1 0-0 2; Emily Skrien 1-6 0-0 2; Shelby Sicheneder 0-2 1-2 1. Totals 20-60 13-21 54.

UW-SUPERIOR (23-4, 16-0)

Hailey Kontny 10-20 6-11 27; Hannah Norlin 3-14 2-4 8; Eva Reinertsen 4-5 0-0 8; Justine Larson 2-8 3-6 7; Jade Tucker 2-4 2-2 6; Emily Carpenter 1-1 1-2 4; Brittany Laehn 1-2 0-0 2; Taylor Kane 1-1 0-0 2; Amelia Leger 1-6 0-0 2. Totals 25-61 14-25 66.

Bethany Lutheran 13 16 6 19 54

UW-Superior 14 13 25 14 66

3-point goals—BL 1-15 (Sandin), UWS 2-9  Kontny 1-1; Carpenter 1-1; Reinertsen 0-1; Larson 0-2; Leger 0-4). Fouled out—BL-Olson. Rebounds—BL 34 (Henning 7), UWS 50 (Norlin 16). Assists—BL 10 (Olson 4), UWS 13 (Leger 4). Total fouls—BL 23, UWS 19. A-596.