Coming off a high-energy rivalry showdown on Saturday against Bethany, the Kansas Wesleyan women’s basketball team was looking for a spark early.
The team delivered in the quick turnaround.
Wesleyan jumped out to a 26-9 lead, lost the cushion, but turned things around for a 74-70 victory against Ottawa at Mabee Arena. KWU is 4-0 at home to open the 2017-18 campaign.
The Coyotes started the tilt on a 10-2 run, en route to a 70-percent shooting quarter. The numbers After leading 29-11 40 seconds in the second quarter, the shooting numbers flipped. Ottawa closed out the first half on a 22-4 explosion to take a 37-34 advantage into the locker room.
Kansas Wesleyan flirted with a double-digit cushion in the third frame, but only led 52-47 after three quarters. In the final frame, KWU turned to freshman Alexandra Berger. The Park Hill product nailed back-to-back threes to put the Coyotes ahead 63-51. However, the Coyotes failed to close out the game, allowing the Braves to cut the deficit to 72-70, but sophomore Haleigh Bradford drilled two free throws to ice the game.
Bradford paced the Yotes with 15 points, three assists and five steals. Junior Sydney Mortensen added 10 points. Kansas Wesleyan forced 21 turnovers and scored 32 points off the miscues.
Kansas Wesleyan (5-4, 3-0) returns from Thanksgiving break with a road trip to Saint Mary on Wednesday. Tipoff is at 6 pm with pregame at 5:45 on FM 104.9.
KANSAS WESLEYAN 84, OTTAWA 69
Much like the women’s game, the men jumped out on the Braves. Only this time, the lead never went away.
KWU opened the game with a 10-3 cushion and saw the margin slim to 20-14 in the first half. The Coyotes’ answer was 14-2 spurt to put them ahead 34-16. That cushion ballooned to 21 at the half, 44-23.
Wesleyan turned to senior Raul Neri to bring the lead to 26 with 15:05 left in the game. The Braves charged back to lighten the lead to 10, 60-50, but could never get any closer than that.
Neri finished with a career-high 20 points on 10-of-12 shooting. Senior Jamon Fulton added 13 points and four assists. Rashun Allen provided a career-high 12 points and four dishes. Sophomore Jordan McNelly was the fourth double-digit KWU scorer with 10.
The Coyotes forced 20 Ottawa turnovers and cashed them in for 29 points.
KWU (4-3, 2-1) goes on the road to Saint Mary on Wednesday.