Kansas Wesleyan women’s basketball head coach Ryan Showman knew turnovers would be important.
The Coyotes coughed the ball up 22 times in a 64-62 defeat to Haskell in KWU’s final tune-up before the KCAC opener next week. Senior Sydney Mortensen received a clean look from deep for the win, but left it strong, giving KWU a 2-3 mark in non-conference play.
Shooting was the main concern in the opening frame. Kansas Wesleyan was ice cold, making just 18 percent of its shots, falling behind 20-10 after the first.
The Coyotes turned to Mortensen to swing momentum as the Maize South product connected on back-to-back threes to knot up the score at 20-all with 5:25 to go in the first half. KWU would tie the game at 23-apiece moments later, but would never grab the lead, trailing 32-27 at the break.
That theme didn’t change in the third as the Coyotes locked up the score at 44-44 with 2:24 left in the third. However, Haskell had the answer, sporting a 46-44 advantage after three quarters of play.
On the first bucket in the final period, the Coyotes grabbed the upperhand as senior Kayla Kivinski drilled a contested triple. Wesleyan’s lead went away after Haskell’s response, but the Coyotes went out in front following a bucket by Kivinski with 2:29 remaining.
Wesleyan’s defense held on the next possession, but the offense had three consecutive turnovers, putting KWU in a 64-59 hole. Mortensen floated up a prayer from deep to cut the deficit to three, and after two missed free throws with 11 seconds left, Mortensen had a chance for the win.
Mortensen ended up as the Salina Ortho Player of the Game, finishing with 15 points, making 5-of-10 shots from deep. Kivinski chipped in 14 points while sophomore Amanda Hill provided 11 from the bench. Senior Gabbie Miller was 0-for-6, but stuffed the stat sheet with four points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists with six turnovers.
Kansas Wesleyan heads to Bartlesville, Okla. to face Oklahoma Wesleyan next Saturday. The doubleheader tips off at 3 pm.