Women’s basketball team falls to Drury, ends season

The Truman State University women’s basketball team’s season ended on Sunday after losing in the second round of the NCAA Division II women’s basketball tournament.

The Bulldogs ground out their first NCAA tournament win since 1999, beating Northwood University 55-42, before falling to Drury University in the regional semifinals 66-51. 

However, the Bulldogs’ first postseason encounter with Drury came in the Great Lakes Valley Conference championship game where the Panthers took down the Bulldogs 76-60.

In the first two games of the GLVC tournament, forward Katie Jaseckas had a double-double against both Maryville University and William Jewell College, leading the team in scoring with 25 points against the former.

“Katie Jaseckas just went to work,” Head Coach Theo Dean said. “She had 25 and 15 and just went to work both inside and outside.”

Jaseckas finished the game against Maryville with 15 rebounds and also knocked down five shots from three-point range. 

Jaseckas attributed her success in both games to her teammates and the hours she spent in the gym all season long. Jaseckas said she wouldn’t have had the open three’s that she did if not for the ball movement that the Bulldogs were able to create.

“We didn’t have any game to look past, even with them being the seventh seed,” Jaseckas said. “[Maryville] gave us a run for our money back during the season.”
“>Jaseckas added she and her teammates knew what they had to do to get themselves into the positions to accomplish their goals.

Forward Ellie Weltha said having played both Maryville and William Jewell already this season gave the team first-hand experience to the potential advantages on the court.

Weltha noted the size advantage against both squads and said they were able to force smaller guards to take on her and Jaseckas down low. Weltha did take advantage of this, putting up double-doubles in both games with 14 and 15 rebounds, respectively.

Dean said you could see his players were on a mission through the first two rounds of the tournament and added it was a great feeling to be back in the conference championship.

The Bulldogs fell short in the conference championship game against Drury, but Jaseckas said the loss only motivated them more, and her fellow seniors had no intention to go through a first-round exit again.

“We knew we were supposed to be on that stage,” Jaseckas said. “…we just had some girls that stepped up and who had played really well all season.”

Jaseckas said not as many shots went in for them against Northwood, but the Bulldogs played some of their best defense all season. 

Weltha also recorded a season-high 18 rebounds in the win against Northwood and earned her fourth straight double-double.

Dean said any game in their region is tough, especially against a young team like Northwood. However, Dean added it was still an amazing feeling to bring another NCAA tournament win to the program.

However, the Bulldogs would cross paths with Drury once again, and had their season cut short.

Dean said his team learned from the conference championship game but couldn’t make the shots they needed to in their second postseason meeting with the Panthers.

“For my players, I told them to follow the game plan, and if it works great and if it doesn’t that’s on me,” Dean said. “We followed the game plan perfectly and just couldn’t hit shots.”

Dean said he isn’t one for consolation prizes but told his team after the loss to simply reflect on their season and acknowledge all the adversity they faced to get to where they were.

Jaseckas said there were no regrets from her after the loss in which both she and Weltha recorded double-doubles once again. 

Jaseckas continued saying she wouldn’t have wanted the season to end any other way and commended her team’s heart and perseverance in their final game.

The Bulldogs’ postseason run has come to an end, but Dean said that both he and his players have a lot to be proud of from this season.