Kansas Wesleyan women’s basketball coach Ryan Showman said his team had the best practices of the year going into Wednesday’s showdown against Tabor.
It showed right away as the Coyotes scored the first 22 points of the game in the first quarter and cruised from there to upend No. 16 Tabor 65-55 in Hillsboro. Wesleyan downed the Bluejays in back-to-back contests for the first time since 2010-11.
While the scoreboard lit up with points, it was Wesleyan’s defense that started the barrage. The Coyotes forced nine of Tabor’s 20 turnovers in the first quarter, shell-shocking the Bluejays in a 26-4 period. Tabor cut the deficit to 14 late in the half before a last-second shot by sophomore Courtney Heinen to give KWU a 38-22 advantage.
Wesleyan pushed the margin back to 20 after a three by sophomore Kayla Vallin with 1:23 to play in the third. Tabor’s final charge was led by freshman Sammy Jo Peterson, who hit two triples with a bucket sandwiched in the middle to start the fourth. Vallin put the game out of reach with her second three to make it 63-48, completing the upset.
Heinen had team-high honors with 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Freshman Virja Lewis poured in 12 points with just one missed shot. Senior Taryn Frazier was rock solid in her first start of the season, adding 11 points and five rebounds in 14 minutes.
KWU improved to 10-9, 7-4 in the KCAC. The Coyotes welcome the York Panthers on Saturday with pregame at 4:45 on FM 104.9.
TABOR 62, KANSAS WESLEYAN 46
Much like the KWU women, the Tabor Bluejays turned to their defense to set the tone.
Tabor forced 14 turnovers and cashed those in for 18 points to build a 35-24 halftime lead. After closing the first half on an 8-2 run, the Coyotes used a 12-2 spurt to bring the margin down to 43-36 with a little over 12 minutes to play.
The Bluejays responded by holding the Coyotes without a field goal, pushing their advantage to 16. KWU had one final charge, slimming the deficit to nine with 3:45 to play, but the Coyotes were held scoreless the rest of the way.
Junior Ernest Carter paced the Coyotes with 12 points and six rebounds in the second half. Tabor senior Julian Winton matched his season average with 21 points.
Wesleyan fell to 9-8, 7-4 in KCAC play. The Coyotes battle the York Panthers on Saturday.