Rochester, MN - The Rochester Community and Technical College pulled off the road upset over MN West 88-84 in double-overtime to earn a berth in the 2017-18 NJCAA National Tournament. The Yellowjackets, who had fallen twice in the regular season to MN West beat the Lady Jays on their home court behind the play of Region MVP Nautika Kotero's 27 points.
Region Coach of the Year Steve Hucke's team would not be denied as they scored the final 5 points of the second overtime for the win. The game was tightly contested throughout the entire first half as neither team could pull away. MN West held a 2 point lead after the first period (15-13), and then a 1 point lead at the half (28-27). In the third quarter it appeared that MN West might be on the way to their 3rd straight victory over the Yellowjackets as they extended the lead to 7 heading into the final frame. It was here that the Yellowjackets came together and refused to be denied, outscoring the Lady Jays 22-15 in the quarter to force overtime. In the first overtime, it looked as if the Yellowjackets were poised for the victory. Leading by one with time winding down, RCTC was called for a fould with only .3 seconds left on the clock. MN West knocked down one of two from the stripe and the game went into the second extra fram tied at 74.
In the second overtime, once again the two teams went back and forth before a critical free throw line jumper by Olivia Haug gave the Jackets a 3 point lead 84-81. The Yellowjackets then held on down the stretch to seal the 88-84 victory and punch their ticket to the National Championships.
Along with Kotero's 27 points, RCTC got 17 points and 18 rebounds from Olivia Haug, 16 points and 8 rebounds from Grace Riley, and 11 points from Abby Bauer.
RCTC now waits for the seedings and schedule to come out for the National Tournament hosted by Rock Valley, in Rockford, IL - March 15-17.