McPHERSON – The Kansas Wesleyan women appeared to be in good shape in their quest to end a two-game losing streak Saturday night.
Caila Hill (SO/Rossville, Kan.)’s basket gave the Coyotes a 69-61 lead over McPherson with four minutes left but things quickly unraveled. The Bulldogs scored on six of their next seven possessions while KWU missed four consecutive shots and committed four turnovers, resulting in a final 12-0 run and heartbreaking 73-69 Kansas Conference loss inside the Sports Center.
“Just another missed opportunity,” Wesleyan coach Ryan Showman said on his postgame radio show. “I thought we played well enough to give ourselves a chance and the last four minutes in the fourth quarter we weren’t able to get stops. We really didn’t need to score much more in the half court, we just needed to get stops defensively and we weren’t able to do it.”
The loss dropped KWU to 9-9 overall and 8-7 in the KCAC. McPherson improved to 10-6, 7-6 in the conference, and ended a five-game losing streak against Wesleyan, which also had won 15 of the last 16 games between the two schools.
The closing stretch mirrored the end of the first half when KWU led 30-20 after a Hill basket with 4:11 left in the second quarter. McPherson answered with a 13-2 burst and had a 33-32 at halftime advantage.
The primary culprit was no surprise. Senior forward Brittany Roberts recorded her 14th double-double of the season, finishing with 32 points and 14 rebounds to go along with six steals. She scored six of the Bulldogs’ 12 points in the closing spurt.
Roberts had 30 points and 15 rebounds in the first game of the season between the two teams in Salina.
“She’s a really good player and she made plays for them,” Showman said. “We were very intentional about how we were going to guard her and we didn’t do a great job of that late in the game and she got loose for a couple (of baskets). When we needed that stop it just felt like she was there to make a play.”
The Coyotes shot the ball well enough to win, going 28 of 56 from the field (50 percent) but were plagued by 22 turnovers that led to 29 McPherson points. The Bulldogs also grabbed 15 offensive rebounds that led to 18 second-chance points.
“When we weren’t turning it over, I thought we were doing really well,” Showman said of the offense. “We were very patient, we were very methodical, I thought we executed and got the right people taking the right shots.
“But when we weren’t executing, we were turning it over or were getting loose with the ball or we were getting tied up. And that ended up coming back and getting us.”
Amanda Hill (SR/Rossville, Kan.) led KWU with 21 points that included five 3-pointers and also grabbed five rebounds. Kelcey Hinz (JR/Whitewater, Kan.) notched her 11th double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds – her second double-double in two games. Caila Hill added 10 points and nine rebounds.
KWU travels to Bartlesville, Okla., Wednesday for a 6 p.m. game against Oklahoma Wesleyan. OKWU defeated Ottawa 76-65 Saturday and plays Oklahoma City Monday in Bartlesville a non-conference game.
“The reality is every game is going to be important for us,” Showman said. “We’ve got to find a way to close things out and going on the road against Oklahoma Wesleyan, a team that likes to score and get up the court in a hurry, is going to be a little bit of a change of pace. We’ve got to play well and find a way to win.”