Menlo College women fall in national hoops tourney

The season ended with a disappointing loss, though there was nothing disappointing about Menlo College's women's basketball season.

The 14th-ranked Lady Oaks (25-6) dropped a 77-72 decision to No. 19 Huntington of Indiana in the first round of the NAIA Division II national tournament in Sioux City, Iowa, their third opening round loss in as many years.

Junior guard Jolise Limcaco scored nine of her 18 points in the first 5 1/2 minutes of the contest, as Menlo took a 23-6 advantage in the early going.

The Foresters clawed their way back and took the lead for good in the final minute of play.

Junior post Laurel Donnenwirth added 16 points and 14 rebounds for the Cal Pac Conference champions. Vanessa D'Amico added another 16 points, including four 3-pointers, for the Lady Oaks, who shot nearly 54 percent from the floor.

Aaliyah Sowards scored 10 points for the Lady Oaks.

A key to Huntington's success came at the free throw line, where it converted more free throws (23) than the Oaks attempted (15). The Foresters also turned it over only 12 times while forcing 20 miscues. Menlo was outrebounded 35-32 and surrendered 15 offensive boards.

Menlo won 25 games for the second straight year and will carry a 33-game winning streak against conference opponents into next season. The Lady Oaks return their entire roster.

The teams were tied with 1:09 to play before the Foresters (24-8) pulled away. Jenna Arnett got Menlo to within 75-72 with five seconds to play, but the Lady Oaks were forced to foul and Huntington made a pair of free throws to secure the win.

Menlo shot a sizzling 65.4 percent from the field in the first half, taking a 39-29 lead into halftime.

An 18-4 Huntington run that ended midway through the second half put the Foresters in the lead.

Menlo, which entered the tournament with 15 wins in its past 16 games, was held without a field goal in the final three minutes.

— Palo Alto Online Sports


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