WILLMAR -- The Ridgewater women's basketball team nearly put itself in the best position possible Wednesday for the final berth into the MCAC State Tournament.


Newsletter signup for email alerts

The Lady Warriors ran hard with Rochester, the No. 1 team in NJCAA Division III, but their tanks emptied a little too early, falling 71-61 in a MCAC South Division game.

Ridgewater (4-7, 9-14) needed to win Wednesday's game and beat Minnesota West Saturday in Worthington to earn a possible final berth in the state tournament, which will be held in Willmar Feb. 27-March 1. Now, the Lady Warriors will have to beat the Bluejays to force a playoff game early next week.

Ridgewater, which punched and countered with the Yellowjackets all game, took a 54-53 lead with 6:21 left in the game on a Tara Thielke three-pointer.

But Rochester responded with a trey from Anne Breland to regain the advantage.

Slowly, Rochester inched away. In the last 1:30, the Lady Warriors had to foul to get the ball back, but the Yellowjackets sank their free throws, finishing the game 21 of 28.

"That was just amazing," said Ridgewater coach Carrie Ogdahl of her team's effort. "We really played well, but we don't have the scoring power to keep up with them."

The Lady Warriors dominated the boards on both ends, grabbing 47 to Rochester's 34. Twenty-two were offensive rebounds.

"They want to get to that state tournament," Ogdahl said. "Hopefully, we have it in our heads what it takes to get there."

Thielke and Danielle Goeman paced the Lady Warriors with 12 points each. Kari Caspers pulled down nine rebounds, Goeman had eight and Thielke dished out seven assists.

Sam Sikkink scored 18 points, followed by Breland with 13 and Maria Gangelhoff with 12.

Rochester 71, Ridgewater 61

Rochester (11-0, 26-0) 36 35 -- 71

Ridgewater (4-7, 9-14) 33 28 -- 61

ROCHESTER - 23-56 FG (4-8 3-pt); 21-28 FT; 34 rebounds; 15 fouls ... Scoring: Kandice Bostick 1, Melissa Streit 2, Maria Gangelhoff 12, Jordan Vavra 2, Sam Sikkink 18, Amanda Degnan 8, Anne Breland 13, Nikki Borkuis 2, Chelsea Wand 4, Tess Milczark 9 ... 3-point shots: Sikkink 2, Breland 2 ... Rebound leaders: Breland 5, Borkhuis 6 ... Assist leaders: Sikkink 3 ... Steal leaders: Wand 5

RIDGEWATER - 25-67 FG (2-10 3-pt); 9-12 FT; 47 rebounds; 24 fouls ... Scoring: Patina Queenan 9, Danielle Goeman 12, Chelsea Voorhees 4, Tara Thielke 12, Alisha Schuerman 1, Alison Mason 9, Kari Caspers 8, Britney Glisczinski 6 ... 3-point shots: Queenan 1, Thielke 1 ... Rebound leaders: Goeman 8, Thielke 5, Mason 7, Caspers 9 ... Assist leaders: Thielke 7 ... Steal leaders: Thielke 3