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Cross records triple-double to lead Triton women

—Photo by Paul DeCoursey Mardaeja Cross had a triple-double for Iowa Central vs. Little Priest Tribal Wednesday night.

When the Iowa Central women got in trouble against Little Priest Tribal, it was Mardaeja Cross who came through in the clutch inside Hodges Fieldhouse on Wednesday night.

The Triton (11-7 overall, 3-2 ICCAC) sophomore didn’t lead the Tritons in scoring, but her all around play gave Iowa Central an 84-70 victory over the Warriors (2-12, 2-2).

Cross finished the contest with a triple-double. She had 10 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists. When the contest got close, it was cross who either found the open player or made a big shot.

“When we needed to make a play, Mardaeja did it,” said Iowa Central head coach Kelly Kruger. “She has the ability to get to the rim and can distribute the ball. We put her on Leon (Amaya), who scored 29 points in a conference game the other night and she did a good job on her defensively.

“She also has the ability to shoot the ball.”

Iowa Central, who is currently third in the league race behind top-ranked Kirkwood (17-1, 4-0) and fifth-ranked NIACC (17-1, 4-0) didn’t pull away until late in the fourth quarter.

“It wasn’t a great performance, but we got the win,” Kruger said. “I was pleased with the way we played on the boards. We crushed them — out rebounding them 59-27.”

The Tritons started the final quarter with a 61-53 lead, but the Warriors cut it to 62-60 before Cross and Isabell West took over. Cross and West scored 16 of Iowa Central’s 23 points in the fourth quarter. At one point the two outscored the Warriors 11-5.

West finished with a double-double. She had a game-high 27 points and 12 rebounds on 9-for-15 shooting from the field and 8 of 14 from the line.

Anni Cummings had 17 points, including four three pointers. K’Breonna Collins had 11 points, while Jordan Engbrecht added 10.

“What we are looking for is a little more pizazz,” Kruger said. “We got the job done, but we allowed way too many opportunities.

“We did have good balance on offense with five players reaching double figures.”

The Warriors, who have won only two games, have beaten DMACC and Ellsworth and have a strong three-point game that kept them in the contest. Little Priest Tribal hit 11 threes, while the Tritons had nine.

Four Warriors reached double digits and four hit triples. Aaliyah Clay led the way with 21 points. Chainee Hall had 15, all from three and Amaya Leon had 13 and Naomi Mares had 11. Leon and Mares three and two three pointers respectively.

Iowa Central is back in action on Saturday when they host DMACC at 1 p.m. on Dennis Pilcher Court.

IOWA CENTRAL 84, LITTLE PRIEST TRIBAL 70

Iowa Central — Aaliyah Hull 3-9 0-0 6, Mardaeja 4-15 2-2 10, Anni Cummings 6-16 0-0 17, Jordan Engbrecht 4-12 0-0 10, Kae’la Jackson 1-5 0-0 3, Amya Milligan 0-0 0-0 0, Ksabell West 9-15 8-14 27, K’Breonna Collins 5-7 1-2 11. Totals: 32-79 11-18 84.

Little Priest Tribal — Chainee Hall 5-12 0-0 15, Naomi Mares 3-11 3-4 11, Kaylee Begay 2-3 1-2 6, Amaya Leon 4-12 2-2 13, Aaliyah Clay 8-13 5-8 21, Victoria Parra 0-0 0-0 0, Stevie Peters 1-1 0-0 2, Shaylee Scabby 1-3 0-0 2. Totals: 24-55 11-16 70.

Quarter scores: Iowa Central led 28-14, 42-34, 61-53. Three-point goals: Iowa Central 9-23 (Cummings 5-12, Engbrecht 2-5, Jackson 1-5, West 1-1); Little Priest Tribal 11-32 (Hall 5-12, Mares 2-6, Bagey 1-2, Leon 3-9, Clay 0-1, Scabby 0-2); Total rebounds: Iowa Central 59, Little Priest Tribal 27; Turnovers: Iowa Central 13, Little Priest Tribal 13; Total fouls: Iowa Central 16, Little Priest Tribal 15.