Women’s basketball takes IAAM conference title, first time in 28 years

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Senior Maria Edwards drives on the St. Mary’s defense in the IAAM championship game. For the first time since 1984, the women’s basketball team has claimed the ‘B’ Conference title.

Martha Schick, Managing Editor

With 2.6 seconds left in the IAAM B Conference championship game, St. Mary’s player Stephanie Lazo stepped up to take her foul shot.  This was the shot that would make or break JC’s two point lead, 40-38.  With the fans screaming along with the pep band, she took the shot and missed.  Freshmen Ashley Hunter was fouled on the rebound and made both shots with 1.7 seconds on the clock, bringing the score to 42-38, and sealing JC’s win in the final game of the season.

This was the first time that JC had won the IAAM Championship in 28 years.

“When Ashley made that second free throw, that was when I realized we were going to win. There was no way St. Mary’s could have scored enough. I felt an overwhelming sense of relief and anxiety for those few moments left on the clock to expire,” senior team captain Miranda Ripken said.

Although Hunter made the heroic last shots, it was Ripken who set the tone of the game, scoring a two-pointer off the tip.  St Mary’s and JC would be tied several times throughout the game, but JC never fell behind on the scoreboard.

“I knew that no matter what our team has been faced with, we always find a way to come out on top,” senior team captain Maria Edwards said.

Edwards scored another two points in the first two minutes. St. Mary’s quickly retaliated with two foul shots and a two-point basket.  However, JC still emerged from the first quarter ahead with two foul shots from senior team captain Emily Soller in the last 20 seconds, bringing the score to 10-6.

The second quarter was dominated by Soller, who scored five points in addition to two fouls shots.  Edwards also made a three point shot, and the combination of these brought the score to 26-21 JC at halftime.

The second half was made up of foul after foul.  Ripken was one of the exceptions with a three point shot followed by a two point shot within a minute of each other, but the game came down to superior foul shooting abilities.

Edwards brought the score to 40-38 with 10.6 seconds on the clock with a foul shot.  After St. Mary’s miss and Hunter’s two points, the clock ran out, and the JC women’s basketball team became the IAAM B Conference Champions.

“My freshman year, the women’s JC basketball team was a team that really wasn’t taken seriously, and it means a lot to me that we were able to turn it around in two years and win the championship during the third year of our progress,” Ripken said.

“I don’t think I could explain how I felt [when I realized we were going to win the game].  It was just amazing knowing that we won for the first time in 28 years,” Soller said.