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KWU Women Break Long Slide at Sterling

KSAL Sports - January 23, 2014 6:17 am

~Courtesy kwucoyotes.com~

STERLING – It had been a long time since the Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes tasted sweet victory during the regular season at the Gleason Center. For the first time since 1980, the Coyotes knocked off the Sterling College Warriors 59-48 on Wednesday night at the Gleason Center.

It wasn’t the first time in 34 years that the Coyotes had won in Gleason. Wesleyan knocked off the Warriors 70-61 in the 2009 KCAC Tournament Championship in this building to advance to their first-ever NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship.

It took nearly four minutes for either team to get on the board when Vanessa Kresin buried a three for the Coyotes putting them ahead 3-0 with 16:19 to go in the first half. Over a minute later Allie Faul hit a three for Sterling to tie things up at 3-all with 15:06 to go in the half. Wesleyan would maintain its advantage, taking a 9-3 lead on Caley Greving‘s free throws with 13:29 left in the half.

A later triple by Shelby Heim put the Coyotes up eight at 17-9 with 11:13 to go and Brittney Stever‘s charities with 9:01 to go put Wesleyan up nine at 21-12. Lori Dauer got Sterling back within three at 24-21 with 5:46 to go when the Coyotes got a three byKatie Pfeifer to spark an 8-0 run to take a 32-21 lead with 4:15 left.

Alecia Smith put the Coyotes up 14 with 1:51 to go in the half and Wesleyan would take a 37-25 lead into the half.

Sterling cut its deficit to nine to open the half, but a three by Kalie LeShore put the Coyotes back up 12 at 40-28 with 18:41 left. A bucket by Smith with 9:34 left put the Coyotes up 14 and Christian Cassity‘s score with 8:50 left put the Coyotes up by a game-high 16 at 51-35.

Dauer capped a 6-0 run by the Warriors to get them back within 10 at 53-43 with 4:52 left and the Warriors got within seven at 55-48 with 1:34 left. Wesleyan would score the final four points of the game to seal the 59-48 victory.

Smith and Steinle led the Coyotes with 10 points each while LeShore and Kresin had nine each as Wesleyan was 18-of-54 from the floor for 33.3 percent. Even more impressive was the Coyotes’ efficiency at the line where they hit 17-of-18 free throws for 94.4 percent after missing 16 on Saturday night against Bethel. Smith had 12 rebounds to lead to the Coyotes to a 45-43 advantage on the glass.

Brionna Sullen led Sterling with 10 points, while Dauer had nine and 11 rebounds as the Warriors were 17-of-61 from the floor for 27.9 percent and just 11-of-21 at the line for 52.4 percent.

Wesleyan opens the second half of KCAC play on Saturday, hosting Tabor College at 5 p.m. at Mabee Arena.