Despite St. John’s 20, Owens fails to defend national title


ROCHESTER, Minn. —The Owens Community College womens basketball team will not defend it’s 2022 NJCAA Division III national championship, which was the first ever for the program.

The top-ranked Owens squad met its’ match Friday, falling to Minnesota West CC (Worthington, Minn.), 76-59, in a national semifinal.

Minnesota West got four players into double figures, led by Tia Murray, who had 23 points, 15 rebounds, two steals, and blocked two shots while making 11-of-23 field goals.

As a team, Minnesota West shot 45% (34-for-75) from the field while Owens shot 34% (23-for-60), including 6-for-20 (30%) from beyond the three-point arc.

The Express struggled from the charity stripe, making 7-of-15 (46%) free throws, while Minnesota West connected on 6-of-8, out-rebounded Owens 46-35, and had 16 turnovers to the Express’ 18.

Lake graduate Hayley St. John, a 5-foot-11 sophomore forward, was 9-for-17 from the floor in leading the Express with 20 points, six rebounds and three assists.

Mallorie Schroeder had a double-double 12 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and four steals, Keianna Sheridan had 11 points, three assists and two steals, and Brooklyn Green had nine points and four rebounds for the Express.

However, Owens standout starter BreAna Clemons fouled out without scoring a point, although she had an assist and two steals.

Off the bench, Alyssa Strahm scored three points, Ameriona Frierson had two points, four rebounds, two assists and three steals, and Camryn Ivy added two points for Owens.

Owens sophomore guard Trena Wiseman-Esparza, a Bowling Green High School graduate, contributed two minutes on the court, getting one rebound.

Green hit a three-point shot with 5:01 remaining in the first quarter, giving Owens a 15-9 lead, but Minnesota West went on a 6-0 run, tying the game at 15-all after Olivia Hayenga scored on a layup with 3:54 remaining.

Minnesota-West was up 21-19 after one quarter and never trailed the remainder of the game. They are 30-4 and will face Rochester (26-1), 62-43 winners over Riverland (23-6) for the national championship.

Owens and Riverland, also out of Minnesota like three of four semifinalists, will face off for third place Saturday at 3 p.m. Eastern.

Owens has been lucky to have two exceptional coaches at the helm. Stephen Perry and Tre’Vion Beverly have been instrumental in leading the team to success in recent years.

Perry, who has been with the Owens women’s basketball program since 2018, has an impressive coaching record. Prior to taking on the role of head coach at Owens, he spent nine years coaching at Toledo St. Ursula.

During his time there, his teams achieved an overall record of 127-29 and won two City League championships. As head coach of the Owens Express, Perry has led the team to a NJCAA Division III national runner-up finish and a 25-9 record in his first season.

He has helped the program compile a 330-89 record, including a 35-23 performance as head coach, and a 147-24 record in conference play, including a 20-5 record as head coach.

Perry’s success as a coach can be attributed to his experience as a player, having played intercollegiate basketball at Tiffin University. He is also an account executive for USF Holland in Bowling Green and resides in Toledo with his wife and two daughters.

Assisting Perry is Tre’Vion Beverly, who is in her first year as an assistant coach at Owens. Beverly works with all aspects of the program, including strength and conditioning, player development, and recruiting.

She has an Associate of Science, Associate of Arts, and Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science with a concentration in Strength and Conditioning.

Prior to her arrival at Owens, Beverly was an assistant coach at Cleveland Central Catholic High School and a grad assistant at The University of Northwestern Ohio as she pursued her Masters of Business Administration.

Together, Perry and Beverly have led the Owens Express women’s basketball program to success in recent years, with three players being recognized as Players of the Week in the 2022-23 season alone.

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