1993 NCAA Div. III champions
PELLA—Forward Nicole Strasko (senior, Roland, Roland-Story HS) poured in 27 points but the Central College women’s basketball team came up short in the final minutes against North Central College (Ill.) 88-83.
Central (3-1) trailed by as many as 17 points but tied the game at 80-80 with 2:22 remaining. However, the Dutch never took the lead as North Central (3-2) hit a layup and downed six-of-seven free throws while limiting Central to just three free throws.
“We had chances at the end and executed the play we drew up, but it just didn’t go in our favor tonight,” coach Mike Jacobsma said.
Strasko paired her career-best point total with a school-record 22 rebounds. She edged the previous mark of 21 set by Sue Poppens in 1984-85 and Tracy Wilson in 1992-93. Strasko shot 11-of-22 from the field and had 16 defensive boards for her third career double-double.
“Nicole gutted it out tonight and had an unbelievable individual effort,” Jacobsma said. “But she’d give that record back any day if it meant a victory for the team.”
Forward Jessy Stika (junior, Cresco, Crestwood HS) notched her first career double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds. She drained 12-of-12 shots from the free-throw line, tying the school’s percentage record. Guard Kalli Richardson (Blairsburg, Northeast Hamilton HS) had 16 points and eight rebounds and guard Rachel Evans (sophomore, Fort Dodge) had eight rebounds.
The Dutch clawed back from double-digit deficits three times throughout the game, but never gained a lead of more than four points.
“We had the resiliency to fight back but we have to get over the hump and take the lead,” Jacobsma said.
Central held a 70-41 rebound advantage. North Central outshot the Dutch 38.3 percent from the floor to 38.3 percent, and held Central to 12.5 percent from long range. The Cardinals applied full-court pressure, forcing 26 Dutch turnovers, while subbing in five players every 90 seconds.
“You have to really stay focused for entire possessions when you’re playing against constant transitions,” Jacobsma. “Our players competed, we just didn’t do enough of the little things right tonight.”
The Dutch return to action Thursday, facing William Penn University in an 8 p.m. contest at Oskaloosa.