TRUCKEE — The Truckee girls were not tall enough to prevent Dayton’s big center from gobbling up rebounds and dominating the post in the second half of Tuesday’s Division I-A contest.
It didn’t matter, though, as the Wolverines jumped out to a large enough lead in the first half to hold on for a 38-33 win, despite a 14-point second-half performance by 6-foot-4-inch Taylor Ingersoll.
“She can be a game-changer for us when she decides to be,” said Dayton coach Benjamin Halvorson, whose center scored only two points in the first half.
The Wolverines limited the Dust Devils to just 12 points through the first two quarters as they carried a 22-12 lead into the break.
Dayton came out with an improved game plan in the third quarter — feed Ingersoll in the post. The senior, who was at least a half-foot taller than any Wolverine, reached above everyone to pluck rebounds out of the air and score nearly at will in the paint. She didn’t even need to jump.
Truckee opened the second half with a pair of free throws by Lauren Peak and a 3-pointer by Sydney Mock to open up a 15-point lead, at 27-12. But Dayton followed with 10 consecutive points to cut the lead to 27-22.
The Dust Devils continued their assault in the fourth quarter, which began with Truckee hanging onto a 29-23 lead. The visitors might have pulled even or gone ahead had it not been for the clutch play of Truckee guards Kaylee Neill and Mock, both of whom came up with several key baskets to help fend off the comeback attempt.
Dayton pulled as close as 36-33 after a baseline drive by Cheyanne Strong with two minutes remaining. But Neill answered with a midrange jumper, and the Wolverines held the Dust Devils scoreless the final minute and a half to preserve the win.
Neill scored 11 points to lead Truckee, while Mock chipped in nine points and Cassandra Sawyer scored six. Peak and Anais Fay scored four points apiece.
The Wolverines improved to 7-8 in league play with one game remaining. Dayton fell to 2-13.