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Skaggs sisters, Jennies to play for national title

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Three years removed from helping the Central High School girls basketball program capture its first state title, Megan Skaggs and Sydney Skaggs are still making history.

The sisters and their University of Central Missouri teammates have taken a magical postseason run all the way to the NCAA Division II championship game.

The Jennies (29-3) will challenge mighty Ashland (36-0) – which has won 73 consecutive games – in a 7 p.m. final on Friday that will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

Megan Skaggs scored a team-high 15 points among four players in double figures on Wednesday in a 70-57 semifinal victory over Union (Tenn.) as Central Missouri continued to dazzle.

Balanced production and stingy defense have been staples of success for the Jennies, who regrouped nicely from an upset loss to Lindenwood in the MIAA Tournament.

They capped an NCAA Central Region championship with an 81-42 dismantling from start to finish of host Augustana to reach the elite eight.

On Wednesday, UCM grabbed a 17-16 lead through one quarter against Union, and stretched it to 34-25 at halftime following eight points from senior guard Kelsey Williams.

Kayonna Lee converted two clutch baskets in the closing moments after Union cut a 15-point deficit to 55-48, and finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Williams had 13 points and all-American Paige Redmond netted 12 for the Jennies. Megan Skaggs sank four late free throws to seal the outcome.

Megan Skaggs has started every game since joining the collegiate ranks, and recently earned MIAA all-conference Honorable Mention for the second straight year. She averages 11.8 points and 4.5 rebounds this season while shooting 52 percent from the field and 77 percent from the line.

Sydney Skaggs, who transferred after spending her freshman year at Missouri-St. Louis, reunited with her younger sibling in Warrensburg, Mo. for the 2016-17 season.

Sydney has handled a key reserve role for a squad that typically goes eight or nine deep. Win or lose, she will battle alongside Megan for the final time on Friday.

Both are former Missouri Class 3 Players of the Year.

Central Missouri, which previously advanced to a national final in 1985, finished 11-18 overall just two years ago.

Central Missouri players Megan Skaggs (20) and Sydney Skaggs (24) are pictured during a NCAA women's basketball game against Arkansas-Fort Smith on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017, in Warrensburg, Mo. The sisters, who helped Central High School win a state championship in 2015, and their teammate with the Jennies (29-3) will face unbeaten Ashland (Ohio) in the NCAA Division II national title game on Friday.

Central Missouri players Megan Skaggs (20) and Sydney Skaggs (24) are pictured during a NCAA women’s basketball game against Arkansas-Fort Smith on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017, in Warrensburg, Mo. The sisters, who helped Central High School win a state championship in 2015, and their teammate with the Jennies (29-3) will face unbeaten Ashland (Ohio) in the NCAA Division II national title game on Friday.

Matt King is the sports editor for the Daily Journal. Contact him at mking@dailyjournalonine.com

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