Friends pulls away in fourth quarter, beats Women’s Basketball in KCAC opener

The Kansas Wesleyan and Friends women battled to draw through the first three quarters of their game Wednesday night.

Unfortunately for the Coyotes the fourth quarter was a much different story.

Friends scored the first 15 points of the period and pulled away for an 84-61 victory inside Mabee Arena in the Kansas Conference opener for both teams.

The Falcons made six of their first eight shots while KWU missed its first seven, committed three turnovers and fell behind 69-54. Odessa Ozuna’s basket with five minutes left ended the drought but Friends scored the next eight points and outscored the Coyotes 30-7 in the quarter.

“They made shots and we didn’t,” KWU coach Ryan Showman said. “When we needed a stop, we couldn’t get one, when we needed a bucket, we couldn’t get one. It was the perfect storm.”

Friends outscored the Coyotes 42-10 in the paint for the game led by 6-foot-1 center Taylor Jackson who scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.

“A hundred percent it was the difference,” Showman said. “We talked about we needed to limit their paint points and we didn’t do a very good job of that.”

LaMyah Ricks led Wesleyan with 16 points and five rebounds. Jill Stephens and Ozuna each scored 12 as the Coyotes shot 34.3 percent from the field (23 of 67) and were outrebounded 48-31.

The game was a see-saw battle through the first three quarters.

KWU raced to an early 15-4 lead but had a 19-18 advantage at the end of the quarter after Friends closed on a 12-4 run. The Coyotes led 38-28 with 2:53 left in the first half but the Falcons scored nine of the final 10 points and trailed 39-38 at the break.

Wesleyan built a 49-43 lead with six minutes left in the third quarter but an 11-2 surge gave Friends a 54-51 lead. Ozuna’s 3-pointer with 29 seconds tied it at 54 to end the period.

“Breakdowns, things we talked about we couldn’t do and we did,” Showman said. “Make no mistake and take nothing away from Friends, they’re a good team. They were going to come in a battle for a full 40 (minutes) and I didn’t think we matched that as much as we needed to.”

Rayland Garner led Friends with 18 points and had eight rebounds and four assists. The Falcons shot 48.5 percent (32 of 66) for the game but were of 20 of 35 the second half (57 percent).

The Coyotes play KCAC newcomer Evangel at 3 p.m. Saturday in Mabee Arena in their next game. The Valor (1-2) lost to Tabor 65-49 Wednesday in Springfield, Missouri in their first-ever KCAC game.