Edison State women fall in opening round of NJCAA D-II national tournament


PORT HURON, Mich — The Edison State women’s basketball team got off to a fast start against Bryant & Stratton (Wisconsin) in the NJCAA D-II women’s national tournament, but struggled in the second half in an 85-66 loss to the Bobcats Wednesday afternoon.

Edison, the 12th seed, drops down into the seventh-place bracket and will play fourth seed Illinois Central at 1 p.m. Thursday.

Illinois Central was upset by Muskegon Wednesday.

Edison State was able to shred the Bryant & Stratton press in the early going and force them to switch to a half-court 2-3 zone.

Two free throws by Whitney Staggs and one by Kailah Johnson in the early going gave the Chargers a 3-0 lead and baskets by Maddy Bakosh and Staggs made it 7-2.

After the Bobcats closed to within 7-5, Edison had a six-point run.

Staffs scored off an assist from Siefring and Kierra Wendel had four straight points.

After the Bobcats tied the game 13-13, Victoria Newland and Staggs scored to give the Chargers a 17-13 lead to end the first quarter.

Staggs opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer that bounced high off the rim and came back down and through to make it 20-13, but the Chargers struggled to score with any consistency the rest of the game.

Staggs scored off an assist from Nia Johnson to put Edison up 22-17 and Allison Siefring scored with 4:47 to go in the half to make it 24-20.

But, Edison State would not make another field goal the rest of the half as the Bobcats went on a 12-1 run to go up 32-25 at the break.

The offensive struggles continued in the second half as Bryant & Stratton opened a 62-41 lead after three quarters and maintained that advantage throughout the fourth quarter.

Staggs led Edison, 29-1, with 21 points and 14 rebounds.

Wendel added 16 points and seven rebounds, while Siefring added six points and 11 rebounds.

Bakosh had seven points, five assists and four steals and Kailah Johnson scored seven points.

Lacyia Hill led a balanced Bobcat attack with 15 points.

Teya Maas had 14 points and five rebounds and Mikkalla Robertson had 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

La’Janique Perry Ellis had 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists and Maxin Paulowski scored 10 points.

Faith Watkins had seven points and seven rebounds, Carley Burchadt had seven points and Myisha Malone had six points.

Mondrea Williams pulled down six rebounds.

Edison State was 27 of 82 from the floor for 33 percent, including five of 21 from long range for 24 percent. The Chargers converted seven of 11 free throws for 64 percent.

Bryant & Stratton was 32 of 67 from the floor for 48 percent, including nine of 23 from 3-point range for 39 percent. The Bobcats made 12 of 20 free throws for 60 percent.

Edison won the battle of the boards 53-43, including 24 offensive rebounds.

But, the Chargers had 17 turnovers to Bryant & Stratton’s 13.

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