Ryan Showman and the Kansas Wesleyan Women’s Basketball team knew they faced a difficult task in the Bethel Threshers.
Mission accomplished for the Coyotes.
Wesleyan rallied from an eight point deficit in the first quarter take a four-point halftime lead as the Coyotes rolled to their fourth straight win 72-61 over Bethel on Thursday night at Mabee Arena.
“I am proud of the team. We found a way,” Wesleyan head coach Ryan Showman said, whose Coyotes improved to 8-3 overall and 4-2 in the Kansas Conference. “That game was everything I thought it would be. It was tough, it was rough and it was physical. They play hard, so we knew that we were going to have to finish some plays, be a tough team, be a physical team and get some stops at the end.”
It was a total team effort as the Coyotes held Bethel star Abby Schmidt to 13 points and 13 rebounds, but challenged every shot she took, most of the challenges from star Kelcey Hinz (SO/Whitewater, Kan.), who finished with 17 points and 15 rebounds, after pulling down 18 boards on Monday against Avila.
“We tried to run an offense to get her pulled out (of the post),” said Courtney Heinen (SR/Axtell, Kan.) for the Coyotes, who led all scorers with 22 points. “That really opened it up for us guards and we read it well and were able to score off that.”
Hinz was just part of a three-pronged attack for the Coyotes, as Heinen had 22 and Amanda Hill (JR/Rossville, Kan.) added 19 points and eight rebounds.
“It’s huge when you have several players that can go off for that kind of a night,” Showman said. “And if we can get three of them, then we are usually on the winning end of things.”
It wasn’t an easy road for the Coyotes, as KWU fell behind by eight, 21-13, with 1:39 left in the first quarter, just minutes after leading by seven out of the gates at 9-2. Bethel’s 19-4 run would finally get slowed down by a bucket by Hinz, would trimmed the lead to 21-15 after a quarter.
Haleigh Bradford (SR/Schertz, Texas)’s bucket with 4:58 left capped the comeback second quarter for the Coyotes as KWU tied it at 28-all on the score and pushed the lead out to 41-35 with 33 seconds left before the half. T
The Coyotes outscored Bethel 26-16 in the quarter, which turned momentum in favor of the hosts.
“We kind of got away from what we talked about in practice, and they hit shots like we knew they would,” Showman said about the late first quarter struggles.
“I liked our response in the second quarter,” he added. “That went a long way in winning us the game, outscoring them by 10 and getting better offensive possessions. We calmed down, executed and finished plays.”
A 7-0 run by the Coyotes midway through the third quarter was key as it put KWU up 50-41 with 5:28 left in the quarter on free throws by Hinz.
Bethel cut the lead to 2 again at 50-48, but again the Coyotes responded, holding the Threshers at arm’s length, leading 58-53 after three.
A bucket by Heinen to open the fourth put the Coyotes up seven and KWU led 62-58 with 8:24 left, when scoring became a premium for both teams. Nearly four minutes passed before a point was on the board again when Gabby Mureeba (FR/Allen, Texas) nailed a shot for the Coyotes with 4:28 left putting KWU up 64-58.
After Amanda Hill scored to put KWU up 66-59, Bethel scored with 3:34 left, but would not score again, while on the other side, a bucket and two free throws by Heinen and free throws by Bradford put the Coyotes up by the final of 72-61.
KWU shot 35.9 percent from the field (28-of-78) but were flawless at the line going 13-of-13. KWU outrebounded Bethel 43-38 in the game. Bradford added four assists and three steals, and Heinen had five swipes.
The Coyotes are back in action on Saturday, on the road to York. Neb. to take on the York Panthers at 5 p.m. at the Freeman Center.