Coyotes pull away from pesky Southwestern in second half for 89-74 win

It took a gallant second half effort for the Kansas Wesleyan Women’s Basketball team to pull away from the Southwestern Moundbuilders for an 89-74 win on Saturday night inside Mabee Arena.The Moundbuilders, who remain winless on the season challenged the Coyotes throughout the first half, but Wesleyan coach Ryan Showman made a few halftime adjustments that seemed to work.“I thought in the first half we did a really great job in our scoring possessions of executing, moving side to side, finding the right shot and then finishing, but we just didn’t do it enough,” Showman said, applauding his team’s first half efforts. “I thought that was a big difference for us and when we got back in the locker room, it was like ‘hey calm down we’re good, let’s get back to doing the stuff that makes us really great and we did that.”Also enter players like Jill Stephens and LaMyah Ricks.Stephens scored 19 of her game-high 20, and Ricks netted 16 of her 18 points in the second 20 minutes, the duo combining for 17 of KWU’s 25 in the third and 18 of 26 in the fourth.“It also helps when LaMyah Ricks and Jill Stephens knock down six or seven three’s in the third quarter. That helped, it really helped loosen us up a little bit and we finally got some stops,” Showman said.He was also quick to credit a resilient Moundbuilder team on its effort.“Credit Southwestern, they hung with us, they just wouldn’t go away. There’s still some games left and if someone isn’t careful, they’re going to get them.”Leading by only three at intermission, 38-35, the Coyotes got a 3 from Stephens to open the third and a free throw by Ricks to push the Coyote lead out to seven at 42-35. After a Southwestern bucket, Stephens hit another triple to push the lead out to eight with 7:59 left.Southwestern cut to three again at 45-42, but the Coyotes responded right back with a 9-0 run to push the lead out to 54-52 with 5:10 left in the third on another Stephens triple.Wesleyan led 63-53 after three quarters and pushed the lead out to 18 at 73-55 on a Ricks three, assisted by Catherine Bowman.From there, the Coyotes rolled, coming away with the 89-71 win.Wesleyan’s 89 points is the most scored by the team in a regulation game this season, and second best overall only to the 99 points in double overtime in the win over Sterling on January 17.The Coyotes trailed by six in the first quarter, 15-9, but scored 10 straight points to take a 19-15 lead on Alexis Dixon’s bucket with 1:48 left. KWU led 19-17 after 10 minutes.A 3-pointer by Angel Lee pushed Wesleyan’s lead out to 34-27 with 4:27 left in the second, but Southwestern got it back within a point at 36-35 on the heels of an 8-2 run. Free throws by Ricks sent the Coyotes into the half up 38-35.The 20 from Stephens led all scorers as KWU had four in double figures as Ricks had 18, Dixon 12 and Lee 11 as KWU was 29 of 70 shooting for 41.4 percent for the game, but shot 50 percent in the second half.Ricks led the Coyotes with nine rebounds. The Coyotes handed out 21 assists in the game, against just eight turnovers.Wesleyan now quickly turns around to play Ottawa on Monday at 5 p.m. at Mabee Arena in a game that was postponed from last weekend. The Braves lost to Bethany 74-46 on Saturday night in Lindsborg.