December 6, 2018 - 9:23 am - Posted in Sports

Haley Birks scored a season-high 26 points and Sammy Blum knocked down a go-ahead three-pointer with under two minutes left as No.5 Northwestern earned a rugged 73-71 win over 20th-ranked Jamestown in a match-up played in Jamestown, N.D.

The Red Raiders have won six straight games and push their record to 5-1 in the GPAC, 9-1 overall. The host Jimmies fall to 2-5 in the conference, 5-6 overall.

Birks made 8-of-16 field goal attempts, 9-of-11 free throws en route to 26 points, two shy of matching her career high set during her freshman year. Both Kassidy De Jong and Darbi Gustafson scored 20 point each as the three Red Raider seniors combined for 66 of 73 points. Gustafson pulled down a game-high rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season.

A tight game for the final two quarters, the largest lead for either team was three and there were eight ties and 20 lead changes (10 each quarter) during the final 20 minutes. With Jamestown leading 67-65 after a three-pointer by Noelle Josephson with 2:41 left to play, Blum answered right back with a three-pointer, her only basket of the game, to put Northwestern in front for good 68-67.

The Red Raiders earned a stop on the defensive end and Birks followed with a basket in the paint to put her team up three, 70-67, with :41 seconds left. Jamestown got a basket from Jory Mullen on its next possession but another basket by Birks put the Red Raiders back up by three, 72-69. Gustafson converted 1-of-2 free throws for a four-point lead and Jamestown scored a late basket by Emma Stoehr to make the final score 73-71. Northwestern forced a turnover on the Jimmies final possession to preserve the win.

Northwestern shot 48% for the game, 27% (3/11) from the arc and converted 22/26 free throws for 85%. Coach Yaw’s squad held a slight 32-30 advantage on the boards.

Noelle Josephson led Jamestown with 19 points, followed by Stoehr with 15 and Jenna Doyle with 12. The Jimmies relied heavily on shots from beyond the arc, shooting 34% (12/35) from the three-point line. Stoehr dished out eight assists for the Jimmies.

The Red Raiders scored the first eight points of the game, six by De Jong, and led 16-13 by the end of the first quarter. Jamestown rallied with an 8-4 run to take its first lead (21-20) at the seven minute mark but Northwestern outscored the hosts 12-0 over a five-minute stretch to open up its largest lead of the game, 32-21, at the 2:30 mark. Jamestown made it a three-point game by halftime, 33-30.

Northwestern will host 25th-ranked Midland on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 2pm.

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