LINDSBORG – Kansas Wesleyan women’s coach Ryan Showman had no qualms with his team’s overall effort and its work at the defensive end of the court.
The Coyotes’ play on offense was a different matter.
KWU shot 35 percent for the game including an icy 21 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. That coupled with 21 turnovers was enough to send the Coyotes to a 62-56 Kansas Conference loss to rival Bethany on Wednesday night inside Hahn Gymnasium.
The loss dropped Wesleyan to 11-8 on the season, 9-4 in the conference. Bethany improved to 13-5 and 11-2.
The Coyotes scored the game’s first two points but Bethany scored the next six and KWU spent the rest of the game playing catch-up. The Coyotes ended the half on a 10-3 run but trailed 24-20 at the break.
Bethany surged to a 39-28 lead early in the third quarter but Wesleyan rallied and got within 45-43 on a Caila Hill (SR/Rossville, Kan.) basket with 7:00 left in the period. A 10-3 run gave the Swedes a 55-46 lead with just under three minutes left in the game.
Post player Tylieea Wallace (SO/Overland Park, Kan.) stepped outside and made two 3-pointers the final 41 seconds but the Coyotes got no closer than the final six-point margin.
Wesleyan shot 29.6 percent the first half (8 of 27), warmed up to 38.7 percent the second half (12 of 31) but it wasn’t enough. The Coyotes were 4 of 19 beyond the arc for the game.
“That’s where the game was lost, at the offensive end. We just didn’t finish enough plays,” Showman said. “You look at our really good 3-point shooters and they don’t ever take bad shots. I know the ones they took and missed are ones I’ve seen them make a thousand times this year. I’m not worried about that.”
The Swedes didn’t shoot well either, finishing at 34 percent (19 of 56) and were 3 of 10 from deep. They were efficient at the free throw line, though, going 21 of 28 and scored 20 points off of KWU’s turnovers.
Showman was pleased with his team’s defense.
“I know it doesn’t mean much now, it doesn’t take away the sting of the loss,” he said, “but if we can go and continue that way on the defensive end we’re going be in a lot of games here moving forward.”
Wallace finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds for her second consecutive double-double. She was 4 of 10 from the field including 2 of 2 from 3-point range.
“It’s all confidence with her,” Showman said. “The more competition the better. It’s good to see her put together a couple of good games because we’re going to need them moving forward. We’re going to need her to play confident.”
Wallace was the only Coyote in double figures, though. Hill finished with nine points and Daijane Adams (SO/Wichita, Kan.) scored eight, her highest total since joining the team second semester. She also had seven rebounds as KWU outrebounded the Swedes 36-34.
R’Manie Pulling led Bethany with 15 points and Emily Weathers had 14 and 10 rebounds.
“At the end of the day we just weren’t good enough,” Showman said. “We didn’t make enough plays and Bethany did. This is a hard one to swallow because I thought our girls battled and competed for 40 minutes.”
Game three of KWU’s four-game road trip continues Saturday with a game against Bethel in North Newton. Tipoff is 5 p.m. in Thresher Gymnasium. Bethel (6-11, 4-8 KCAC) defeated Friends 73-66 Wednesday and has won three of its last four games.