Daavettila reaches 1,000 points, FU women win

HANCOCK — It was only fitting that Julia Daavettila was given the game ball after Finlandia University defeated St. Scholastica College Wednesday night.

After all, the former Dollar Bay High standout had just led her team to an 84-80 upset win, scoring a game-high 25 points along the way at Paavo Nurmi Gym.

Those points also enabled Daavettila to surpass the 1,000-point mark at Finlandia. She also scored more than 1,000 points at Dollar Bay in joining some rare company.

The always modest Daavettila preferred to talk about her team’s second win in a row this season, however.

“This was a great win for us to get,” the senior forward said. “We knew they (Saints) were a tough team coming in with a three-game winning streak. So, it just feels good to have some success.”

FU coach Mark Motherwell had plenty to say about his star player. 

“Julia is just a great player who plays team basketball,” he said. “I just wish I had her for three more years. She’s very coachable, comes from a great family and she sure can play basketball.”

Daavettila was at her best after the Saints whittled a 15-point second half deficit down to two points with under two minutes left.

First, she converted a clutch 3-pointer from the side to give the Lions a 78-73 lead. That enabled FU to put the game away at the free-throw line down the stretch.

Hancock’s Molly Berg did the most damage at the line, knocking down 4 of 5 from there for the winners.

“She (Berg) is just a tough nut,” Motherwell said. “She may make a turnover now and then, but she always comes back to make a good play.”

The much taller Saints trailed 46-36 at the half before making an adjustment that put their size edge on defense.

The Minnesota team also began knocking down 3s on a regular basis to shave a 55-39 deficit in the second half to 75-73.

Michala Walther did most of the long-range sniping, hitting 6 of 10.

“We got away from what we do on defense, and they burned us from outside late in the game,” Motherwell said.

Kelsie Richards (Houghton) played a big role in the opening half. In all, Richards totaled 16 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

“Kelsie Richards is a smart player who knows the game,” Motherwell said.

Daavettila added nine rebounds to her total, while Berg and Lela Horne each scored 13 points, combining for 12 assists.

Taylor Pertile (Hancock) notched nine points and six boards in a steady showing.

The Saints, 7-7 on the season, received 19 points from Walther. Chelsea Swatek added 18 more, while Rashonna Thomas chipped in 16 points.

The 4-12 Lions will prepare for UMAC leader UW-Superior Monday at home.

“Superior is a tough team and we’ll have our work cut out for us,” he said. “You know, we played some of the top Division III teams in the nation in the first part of the season. Now, we have some teams I believe we can beat.”

Finlandia held a surprising 50-48 rebound margin.

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ST. SCHOLASTICA — Swatek 18, Van Kempanen 3, Thomas 16, Walther 19, Miner 3, Cieluch 11, Kennedy 9, Brannen 1. FT: 13-22; Rebounds 48 (Walther 6); Fouls 24; Fouled out: None. 3-point FG: Walther 6, Swatek 2. Thomas 3, Cieluch 1, Kennedy 1.

FINLANDIA — Berg 13, Lena Horne 13, Daavettila 25, Richards 16, Pertile 9. Lola Horne 2, Faccio 6. FT: 21-28; Rebounds: 50 (Richards 10); Fouls: 17; Fouled out: None; 3-point FG: Pertile 2, Daavettila 2, Lena Horne 2, Berg 1.

 Halftime score: FU 46, SS 36.