Four days before making their second trip to Bartlesville, Okla. the Kansas Wesleyan women’s basketball team was a combined 1-of-24 from the field in the first and third quarters. Wesleyan changed that in the third meeting of the season.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.
Oklahoma Wesleyan (21-10, 14-8) put three players past the 20-point plateau, connected on 14 threes and recorded a season-high against a KCAC foe in an 86-74 takedown of Kansas Wesleyan. No. 3 seed OKWU advances to the KCAC postseason tournament semifinals for the first time since joining the conference in 2015-16.
The first quarter featured a true duel with neither team willing to flinch. At the 4:47 mark, Kansas Wesleyan (15-16, 12-10) knotted up the score at 10-10. Later, the Coyotes would build their largest advantage at 19-15.
OKWU’s answer was a true haymaker. Senior Cheyenne Been connected on a last-second 35-foot heave at the buzzer to give OKWU the lead. Classmate Tiffany Rieger took over in the second, finishing the half with 17 points on a perfect 7-for-7 shooting half. The dynamic duo sparked a 21-2 explosion, giving the Eagles a 36-21 cushion in the second.
KWU senior Mariah Knox tried to keep the Coyotes in the game, hitting two of her seven triples in the second stanza. Her last one trimmed the deficit to 41-33, but OKWU turned to senior Mary Hutchins for the Eagles’ ninth trey of the half, keeping OKWU ahead by double-digits.
Been dominated the third frame, scoring 11 of her season-high 23 points, pushing the lead to 60-40. The Coyotes cut the margin to 11 in the fourth, but couldn’t get any closer.
Rieger finished with 21 points while freshman Danae Goodwin provided 20 points, six rebounds and three assists. Hutchins ended up with a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Knox was one of five Coyotes in double-figures. Knox, the Salina Ortho Player of the Game, ended her KWU career with a career-high 24 points. Junior Sydney Mortensen chipped in 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
Oklahoma Wesleyan hosts seventh-seeded Tabor on Saturday. Kansas Wesleyan waves goodbye to five sensational seniors with a bright future ahead.