BY JOSEPH BROWN
PHOTOS BY AMANDA MILLER
VIDEO BY MCKENZIE WEDEL AND AUSTIN REMM
The No. 3 seed Hastings College Broncos secured their spot in the quarterfinals tonight after ending the No. 7 Ashford University Saints national championship tournament journey after an ugly, low scoring game, winning 48-37 tonight at the Tyson Center in Sioux City, Iowa.
After defeating Rio Grande in the opening round 73-64, the Broncos came into tonight’s game determined to build on their past success in the tournament, hoping to add a fourth national title to their name.
However, the Saints weren’t going down without a fight.
After a less than convincing start to the game by both teams, the Broncos went scoreless in the first four minutes, before finding a rhythm and taking an early 10-4 lead.
The Saints, who played in a 2-3 zone, forced the Broncos to shoot 2-10 on three’s in the first half, and forced six turnovers. The Broncos, however, forced 4 turnovers in the first half but did not convert on any of them.
The Saints, who only shot 25% in the first half, didn’t have a lead in the game until the 16:18 mark in the second half, and went into half down 24-19.
The Broncos ended the day shooting 27% from the field, rebounding 44 times, and scoring 23 points from the bench.
The real story of the game is Hastings College’s Michaela Barry, who tore apart the Saints defense to give the Broncos the win.
Scoring 16 points on the day, Barry pushed the Broncos offensively and won them a spot in the quarter finals.
Kelly Kruger, head coach of the Ashford Saints, said that the game was a struggle.
“We just didn’t have any continuity and couldn’t get any consistency,” Kruger said. “The only time we got any consistency was when we were down five at half and we ended up getting a lead by three. That little stretch was probably the best we had.”
Kruger went on to say that the Broncos are just a strong, talented team that had a better day.
“You have to give Hastings a lot of credit. They are good defensively,” Kruger said. “She [Hofstetter] does a great job with those kids and they compete and play hard.”
Kruger said that while disappointed, he’s proud of the success they had.
“Maybe we didn’t handle our success well,” Kruger said. “I’m not embarrassed, I’m disappointed. Our kids continued to battle and continued to play, it was just a hard night. There are just some nights where things don’t go your way.”
Carrie Hofstetter, head coach of the Hastings Broncos, said that Barry’s performance was huge.
“That’s something we talked about a lot. Jamie, who is our main stay offensively sometimes isn’t going to get shots and sometimes she’s not going to make shots,” Hofstetter said. “Last night it was Chelsey Morten stepping up and tonight it’s Michaela.”
Hofstetter said that aiding in Barry’s performance was her bravery.
“The thing about Michaela is that she’s not scared of big moments and she’s not afraid of taking shots,” Hofstetter said. “When she gets hot she is very difficult to deal with. She’s a good three point shooter, she can shoot off the dribble. Michaela really stepped up and filled that role for us today. We struggled offensively as a team today and she made some huge shots for us.”
The Broncos move on to the quarterfinals tomorrow and play the winner of College of the Ozarks and Saint Xavier.
Catch up on previous game recaps:
Round 1, Ashford (Iowa): No. 2 Indiana Wesleyan – 50 vs. No. 7 Ashford (Iowa) – 66
No. 7 Seed Ashford Shocks Perennial Power Indiana Wesleyan