Rookies Roll As Women's Basketball Push Themselves Into NIAC Semis
Julia Schatkowsky and Shirliz Apiyo came off the bench to help Women's Basketball take control of the game in the second quarter as #3 CMU cruised to an 81-55 win over #6 Turtle Mountain on Thursday afternoon to advance to the 2018 NIAC Semifinals.
The Blazers were in need of a spark after the Mikinocks Julia Davis' three-point play tied the game 11-11 late in the first quarter. Momentum began to swing back to CMU after Kiara Rongavilla knocked down her first three-pointer of the game before the buzzer sounded. The Sisler Spartans product would score another before the half and end the game with 19 points on 8 of 11 shooting from the field.
CMU outscored their opponents 28-17 in the second quarter where Schatkowsky and Apiyo shone on the defensive end and in transition. The 5'11" Schatkowsky would score 13 in the quarter including a coast to coast, rebound to lay-up play that showed off the first-year's unique skill-set and gave the Blazers their largest lead of the quarter - 15 points.
Apiyo and Rongavilla were equally involved in the breakout quarter, as each recorded 2 steals and 2 assists in the period as the Blazers shared the basketball and finished on the fastbreak. Offensively, Apiyo would complete the half with 10 points, scoring on 2 of 2 from the free throw line, 2 of 2 from beyond the arc and topping it off with a transition lay-up.
There was no let up in the higher-seed team when they returned to the floor for the second half. Schatkowsky continued to exercise her dominance on both ends of the court as the Vincent Massey Trojans product added 11 more points for a team-high 21 while grabbing 8 defensive rebounds for a total of 11 and her first playoff double-double.
CMU would shoot 40.7% from the field helping them build a lead of 65-47 after three quarters. A bright spot for the Miknocks was the play of Gia and Julia Davis. The sisters combined for 43 points on 17 of 33 shooting and their dominance in the post put CMU starter Vanessa Millions in early foul trouble. The 6'2 sophomore was still able to contribute 11 points on the scoreboard but with 4 fouls was active in less than 15 minutes on the floor.
Next up for the MCAC Champs is a date with the #2 Trinity Bible College Lady Lions on Friday afternoon. The Lions came from behind to edge the #7 Leech Lake Lakers 63-53 in a later quarterfinal. The Blazers and Lions did not meet in the 2017-18 NIAC regular season. The action gets under way in Fort Totten, North Dakota tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 pm.