BROOMFIELD, CO — Minnesota blasted out to a surprising big early lead over Texas in the first quarterfinal game of the 2011 WFTDA Championships tournament, but the resilient Texas crew battled back to claim a 141-108 win in the end.
Minnesota was particularly bedeviled by penalties for the last two-thirds of the game, ending up with 44 minutes spent in the box against 38 for Texas.
Much as had happened in Minnesota’s Friday bout against Charm City, both teams were eager to crowd the jammer line, with Texas rushing to take the position the instant the national anthem ended. Minnesota got a break before there were even 5 seconds gone in the game as Texas’ jammer Bloody Mary was boxed on a major back block after taking about three steps; Minnesota’s L’exi Cuter got 11 points out of it. The hot Minnesota start continued on the next jam as Medusa rang up a grand slam and 9-0 on Olivia Shootin’ John, and Minnesota was up 20-0 two jams in.
Texas mounted a small-ball comeback with a 4-0, 0-0, 3-0, 1-0 sequence over the next four jams. Minnesota’s L’exi Cuter got 4-0 for Minnesota there, but Texas got their first multi-pass jam with 8-0 to Olivia Shootin John and it was 24-17 Minnesota with about 19 minutes left in the half.
However, Texas’ Bloody Mary was again boxed as jammer in the followup; L’exi Cuter battled her way past some hard hits from Killbox and Lucille Brawl to get Minnesota’s biggest jam of the game with a 15-0. Texas called their first timeout there, but on the followup Texas jammer Vicious Van Go Go was punished, unable to find a way past Diamond Rough and Second Hand Smoke while Medusa ran up 12-0. Suddenly Minnesota had a big lead at 51-17 at the midpoint of the half.
That 34 point advantage would prove to be Minnesota’s largest of the game. Things were fairly even over the next three jams to a new score of 55-24, but then Minnesota got in some serious penalty trouble with two blockers starting in the box for five consecutive jams. Texas jammers took advantage of the light packs to claim 3-0, 5-0 and 3-0 wins to start the sequence, but then Texas also started putting two in the box, leading to back to back 0-0 jams. With 5 minutes left in the half, Minnesota survived the lengthy penalty avalanche still up 55-35.
Just as had happened in the opening jam of the bout, Bloody Mary took a back-block major about 2 seconds in a jam next; the powerjam advantage went to Minnesota. Second Hand Smoke picked up 12 but committed a major track cut and Bloody Mary scored 9 out of the box. That left things at 67-44 Minnesota with two minutes in the half; Olivia Shootin’ John used the remainder of the powerjam to take lead jammer and 8-0 as Minnesota once again put two blockers in the box. OSJ went out for the half’s last jam as well and claimed a 4-0. At the break, Minnesota was clinging to a shrinking lead at 67-56.
Texas kept coming out of the break, claiming the first four lead jammers in a row and going 3-0, 0-0, 4-0 and 4-0 to narrow the game to just one point at Minnesota 68, Texas 67 with 25 minutes left in the game. Minnesota finally got their first lead jammer call of the half to Second Hand Smoke, but she could only get 1-0 out of it, and one jam later Texas claimed their first lead of the game as OSJ took a 4-0 win to put Texas up 71-69. Minnesota called their first timeout there.
However, the penalty box was again Minnesota’s downfall as they put two blockers in the box — but this time Texas had 4 on the floor. Vicious Van Go Go had huge holes open for her as L’exi Cuter spent a long time looking at the back of Belle Starr, Lucille Brawl, Smarty Pants and Curvette, and that jam went 15-0 Texas. As the bout entered its final 20 minutes, Texas was up 86-69.
Texas got a bit of a tough break on the next jam as Bloody Mary made two scoring passes but only got 1 point for the first, as she lapped the opposing jammer but didn’t legally pass the one Minnesota blocker on the floor; that went 5-0 and put Texas up 91-69.
Two jams later, with the score 91-71 Texas, the penalty situation finally switched in Minnesota’s favor as Texas filled the box with two blockers and jammer Bloody Mary; Juke Boxx tore up the track for 5 points but then committed her own major. When Bloody Mary came back, though, Minnesota put on a perfectly executed string to keep Bloody Mary just barely in play while Texas blockers hung back waiting for the 20 foot call; Naughty Kitty put can-opener after can-opener on Mary and eventually forced a major track cut, putting Mary back in the box. When it was all over, Minnesota had won the jam 10-0.
Second Hand Smoke added 8 more on the other side of the powerjam and it was a two point game at 91-89 with 11 minutes to go; Medusa grabbed a 3-0 to put Minnesota back in front 92-91 with 10:33.
But that lead only lasted two more jams as the tireless OSJ scored a 3-0 and put Texas up 94-92; Vicious Van Go Go added 4 more with the help of yet another 2-blocker pack for Minnesota. Texas was up 98-92 with 7:46 left.
Minnesota called their second timeout there, but Texas scored 4-0 and 6-0 jams to follow it as Minnesota still seemed unable to ever get 4 blockers on the floor at once. Texas’ lead hit 109-92 with 5:25 to play.
Minnesota suffered a huge setback on the next jam as Second Hand Smoke was boxed as jammer on a major back block, leaving the floor open for Shortcut. Good defense from Diamond Rough and Hurtude Stein kept the damage to just 9, but time was a major problem for Minnesota, down 118-92 with only 3 minutes left in the game.
Medusa took 4-0 to make it 118-96 with 1:30 left on the clock; that jam would be a microcosm of Minnesota’s problems all game long as they yet again put two in the box. Shortcut got out first over Harmony Killerbruise, but without lead; Harmony was unable to claim lead until Shortcut had already taken 7 points. Minnesota called there with 6 seconds left on the clock and Minnesota called their last timeout, needing a miracle as they were down 125-96.
Medusa got the lead jammer status that Minnesota needed, but Vicious Van Go Go matched her pass-for-pass. While Medusa gamely played out the clock, the game was effectively out of reach by the time Vicious put up her first scoring pass; the final jam went 16-12 for Texas, leading to a final score of 141-108.
Texas advances to play the winner of Rocky Mountain / Gotham at 5:30pm.