OTTAWA – Winning basketball games on the road isn’t easy under the best of circumstances.
Winning on the road is next to impossible when a team commits 24 turnovers.
The Kansas Wesleyan women did just that Saturday afternoon and the result was a 67-61 Kansas Conference loss to Ottawa inside Wilson Field House.
The setback ended the Coyotes’ three-game winning streak and dropped them to 9-7 overall, 8-5 in the KCAC. Ottawa improved to 8-6, 6-6 in the conference, with its third consecutive victory.
KWU entered the game averaging 15 turnovers on the season but had ball-handling issues most of the afternoon. The Braves converted the mistakes into 19 points that helped them rally from a 13-point third-quarter deficit. Ottawa had 15 turnovers that led to 10 Wesleyan points.
The Coyotes led 29-24 at halftime after ending the second quarter with a 9-1 run and opened the third quarter with a 16-8 surge that gave them a 45-32 lead with 2:01 left in the period.
The Braves began their comeback at that point, outscoring KWU 9-2 the rest of the quarter and trailed 47-41 entering the final 10 minutes.
Two Caila Hill (SO/Rossville, Kan.) free throws gave the Coyotes a 56-53 with 2:40 left in the game. Ottawa took control, though, by scoring the next nine points en route to a 14-5 closing burst. The Braves outscored KWU 26-14 in the quarter.
Wesleyan did get within four twice in the final 20 seconds, 52-48 and 65-61, but Ottawa hung on by making seven of eight free throws the final 22 seconds.
KWU shot 38 percent from the field (21 of 55) for the game but was 3 of 15 from beyond the 3-point line. Ottawa shot 33 percent (25 of 75), just 3 of 18 from deep.
The Braves won the rebounding battle 50-41, 24 of them on the offensive end that led to 15 second-chance points and outscored the Coyotes 40-32 in the paint.
Kelcey Hinz (JR/Whitewater, Kan.) paced KWU with 13 points and 11 rebounds for her ninth double-double of the season. Caila Hill had 13 points and seven rebounds, Amanda Hill (SR/Rossville, Kan.) 12 points – 10 the first half – and five rebounds, and Gabby Mureeba (SO/Allen, Texas) 12 points.
Post player Kanecia Payne came off the bench and led Ottawa with 20 points and 14 rebounds while Haylie Anderson had 19 points.
The Coyotes are back home Wednesday for a game against unbeaten conference leader and No. 15-ranked Sterling starting at 6 p.m. inside Mabee Arena. They travel to McPherson next Saturday.