A strong defensive effort helped the Iowa Central women punch their ticket into the Region XI-B Tournament final here Tuesday evening.
The Tritons scored a commanding 68-46 victory over Southeastern, advancing to meet Des Moines Area in Boone on Saturday for a spot in the NJCAA Div. II National Tournament. The Bears downed North Iowa Area last night, 74-52.
"I was most pleased with our defensive effort," Iowa Central head coach Brian Ortmeier said. "We know they can hit the 3-pointer, but we did a great job of defending that and taking it away from them."
Carley West added seven points and five other Triton (12-8 overall) players recorded a bucket.
Southeastern (4-19) failed to find their rhythm from deep, shooting just 6-for-33 from beyond the arc during the game. Chainee Hall had 12 to lead the way.
"We knew coming in that we had to get after them and force our style," Ortmeier said. "We've been playing pretty good basketball here as of late. Now, we've got to keep it going."
Iowa Central used a 15-0 run to close the first quarter, taking command 18-5. They closed the second on a 12-2 run, leading by 21 at the break. Dykstra scored 12 of her points during that stretch and Isabell West had 11.
The Tritons and DMACC met twice during the regular season, with Iowa Central winning the most recent matchup in Boone, 69-63. The Bears won in Fort Dodge, 67-63.
"It's going to be a good, tough game," Ortmeier said. "We'll be ready to go."
-By Dana Becker