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In Dacoda Speidel's third game back, DeLaSalle outlasts Holy Angels

By Trevor Squire, SportsEngine, 01/19/18, 10:00AM CST


Speidel, back from injury, scored a game-high 14 points to carry the Islanders to their eighth-straight victory.

DeLaSalle's Elaina Jones moves the ball up the court against visiting Holy Angles Jan 19. Jones and the Islanders beat the Stars 61 to 55. Photo by Korey McDermott, SportsEngine.

DeLaSalle guard Dacoda Speidel missed the first five games of the season after tearing cartilage in her knee during an offseason scrimmage this fall.

Her recovery proved difficult as she tried to continue to practice through the pain.

“When I first tried playing on it, I couldn’t hit any shots. It was hard to find my flow.” she said. “It would hurt sometimes and playing defense on it made it worse. Tonight I finally got it back.”

Speidel, playing in her third game since coming back from injury Friday, posted a game-high 14 points to keep the Islanders afloat. Her team rallied for an eighth consecutive victory -- a 61-55 win over Tri-Metro West Division rival Holy Angels Friday night at DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis.

The senior guard hit a trio of threes and sank 2 of 2 free throws in the first half for 11 of her points. DeLaSalle (8-4, 2-0), ranked sixth in Class 3A by Minnesota Basketball News, struggled from the floor early on and didn’t capitalize at the free-throw line, shooting 5 for 13 overall in the first stanza.

“It really brought us together and encouraged us to do better as a team and she really helped us in the first,” fellow senior guard Ayana Gardner said of Speidel’s first-half performance.

Both teams were in foul trouble early in a first half that lacked flow, and neither team surpassed double digits until the 7-minute mark of the first half. The Islanders attacked early and often with pressure defense.

DeLaSalle junior Olivia Travis matched up with Arkansas prospect Destinee Oberg, a 6-foot-2 center averaging 17.4 points and 14.7 rebounds per game entering Friday’s game. Travis held Oberg to a season-low seven points in the first game Oberg didn’t notch a double-double.

“Since I’ve been here, they’ve had a great post. We have a great post,” Islanders coach Tanysha Scott said. “[Travis] really gets up for this game and I know Oberg does too, because it's not too often they find other players their height.”

Scott added that she knew it would be a guard who’d become a difference-maker in the game. Speidel became the focal point of the Islanders offense, while the No. 2-3A Stars (12-3, 1-1) were led by freshman Francesca Vascellaro.

The Islanders found their stroke from the outset of the second half, going on a 12-4 streak to ultimately run away with the game. DeLaSalle sank 16 free throws to protect its lead and seal the victory.

Gardner, who missed a shot in last year’s 64-63 home loss to Holy Angels, sank a 15-foot jump shot to give her team a lead it never relinquished.

Holy Angels’ other 6-foot-2 post, Kaylie VanDerWerf, fouled out with 14 minutes left in the game. Stars freshman Rachel Kawiecki helped her team crawl back into the game before Oberg fouled out with the Stars trailing by seven with six minutes remaining.

“It’s just the way it goes,” Stars coach Dan Woods said. “We were playing without our bigs, were in foul trouble early—which just makes it tougher—but we’ll come back from that and keep going.”

Megan Meyer scored six points down the stretch to bring Holy Angels within four points. She finished the game with 13 points as the Stars only scorer to reach double figures.

Scott, a 2001 alumna of DeLaSalle, notched her first win as a coach against Holy Angels since taking the helm in 2015.

“Every year… somehow, someway, we end up losing our lead—which almost happened today,” Scott said. “That’s a team that knows us and plays a same style. It’s a great win for our program and our school and for the girls.We know we’re going to see them again and it’s going to be a battle.”

The Islanders lost their first four games of the season, but two aren’t indicative of their actual performance. Their first two games in Thanksgiving Tip-Off Tournament at the University of St. Thomas were forfeited due to rostering an ineligible player.

Their only other losses came to No. 1-3A Robbinsdale Cooper and No. 5-3A Mahtomedi, games which Speidel felt the team wasn’t in the shape it needed to be in to play their pressure defense.

“At the beginning of the season we were faced with a lot of adversity. From that, we were able to become better as a team,” Speidel said.

DeLaSalle head coach Tanysha Scott talks with Ayanna Gardner during a break in play Friday against Holy Angels. Photo by Korey McDermott, SportsEngine.

First Report

Senior guard Dacoda Speidel scored a game-high 14 points to carry the Islanders to their eighth-straight victory after a 61-55 win over Tri-Metro West Division rival Holy Angels Friday night at DeLaSalle High School.

Ranked No. 6 in Class 3A by Minnesota Basketball News, the Islanders used a 12-4 run in the second half to pull away from the No. 2-3A Stars.

Holy Angels (12-3, 1-1) senior Megan Meyer scored a team-high 13 points for the Stars. Arkansas prospect Destinee Oberg was limited to seven points after fouling out with six minutes left in the game.

DeLaSalle (8-4, 2-0) freshman forward Nora Francois chipped in 10 points.

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