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KWU Women Fall Short at Southwestern

KSAL Sports - March 1, 2014 10:40 pm

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WINFIELD – The never give up attitude of the Kansas Wesleyan Women’s Basketball team was on full display on Saturday afternoon at Stewart Field House as the Coyotes took on the top seeded and No. 8 ranked Southwestern Moundbuilders. Despite several comebacks, the Coyotes came up just short in an 85-76 decision in the KCAC Tournament Semifinals.

The loss ends Wesleyan’s season at 16-15 overall, but there were many bright spots throughout the season. For the third straight game, the Coyotes had a player pass the 1000-point milestone as senior Christian Cassity(SR/Springtown, Texas) scored 25 points in her final game in a Wesleyan uniform. Her first bucket of the night, a three with 16:45 to go in the first half pushed her over the 1000 point mark.

Wesleyan fell behind 4-0 to open the game, but outscored Southwestern 10-2 over the next five minutes to take a 10-6 lead with 13:11 left on free throws by Karlie Steinle(FR/Wilson, Kan.). The lead bounced back and forth a couple times until Caley Greving (SO/Prairie View, Kan.)’s bucket with nine minutes left gave the Coyotes an 18-17 lead.

Southwestern then exploded offensively, using an 18-4 run over the next five minutes to take a 35-21 lead with 4:09 left. The ‘Builders shot an incredible 60 percent in the first half, going 6-6 from the field and 4-4 from the line during their run. Southwestern pushed its lead out to as many as 20, the last time at 47-27 in the half before the Coyotes would rally to get within 15 at 51-36 at the break.

Wesleyan trailed 59-43 with 14:55 to go when the Coyotes put the rally caps on. Vanessa Kresin (JR/Glen Elder, Kan.)’s free throws with 13:46 to go got the Coyotes within 11, and the Coyotes would continue their run to a 12-1 charge to get within five at 60-55 with 11:49 to go on a three by Steinle.

Trinicia Shaffer capped a 7-0 run for Southwestern to give the ‘Builders a 67-55 lead with 9:30 to go. The ‘Builders again pushed their lead out to 16 points at 77-61 with four minutes left on a bucket by Jana Reichenberger before the Coyotes made one last charge. An 11-0 run by the Coyotes capped by Cassity’s bucket with 1:09 to go got the Coyotes back within five points at 77-72.

Forced to foul, the Coyotes would see Southwestern hold onto its lead down the stretch and come away with the 85-76 victory to advance to Monday’s KCAC Championship at Hartman Arena in Park City.

Cassity’s 25 led all scorers in the game, as she averaged 31.5 points per game in two contests at Winfield this season, scoring 38 in the last meeting between the teams exactly a month ago. The Coyotes were 10-of-32 from the field for 37.1 percent for the game, overcoming a 31.3 percent shooting effort in the first half. Three other Coyotes finished in double figures in scoring as Kresin scored 18, senior Alecia Smith (SR/Elkhart, Kan.) had 12 and Caley Greving had 10. Cassity led the Coyotes with five rebounds before fouling out with 57.1 seconds left in the game.

The two Wesleyan seniors Alecia Smith and Christian Cassity finished their stellar careers with the Coyotes in the game. Smith finished her three-year run with the Coyotes with 1040 career points and 658 career rebounds. Cassity finished her career with 1023 points and 462 rebounds averaging a career best 14 points per game this season.

Zefiryn Bryan led Southwestern with 23 points and 11 rebounds as the ‘Builders were 26-of-58 from the field for 44.8 percent and held a 48-30 advantage on the boards over the Coyotes.

Stardust Trophy