WINFIELD – The game turned in the Kansas Wesleyan women’s favor once they stopped turning the ball over and started rebounding Southwestern’s missed shots.
The Coyotes broke open a close game with a 21-4 second-half run and hung on for a 69-55 Kansas Conference victory Monday night inside Stewart Field House.
Their eighth consecutive victory over Southwestern gives them an 8-2 overall record, 4-1 in conference play. Southwestern falls to 1-9 and 0-4.
KWU led 33-23 at halftime but was plagued by 14 turnovers and the Moundbuilders’ 14 offensive rebounds. Turnovers have been a problem this season.
“We talked at length at halftime about the turnovers, about the offensive rebounds,” KWU coach Ryan Showman said on his postgame radio show. “I told them 16 turnovers a game is a place we can thrive in; 10 offensive boards to an athletic team is a place that we can live in and still be successful.
“But we can’t give 40 points off turnovers and second chance (shots) and beat a lot of teams in this league.”
His team responded the final 20 minutes, committing eight turnovers and giving up five offensive rebounds – both manageable numbers.
The improvement was reflected on the scoreboard. Leading 39-34 with just under five minutes left in the third quarter the Coyotes embarked on their decisive run that included 14 consecutive points during a stretch that bridged the third and fourth quarters.
Clinging to a 46-38 advantage with under a minute left in the third quarter they scored the last four points of the period and the first 10 of the final quarter that gave them a 60-38 lead with 6½ minutes left.
Southwestern used a 12-3 burst to get within 63-50 with just over three minutes left but KWU scored six of the game’s last nine points.
Wesleyan ended the game with 22 turnovers that led to 23 Moundbuilders’ points and Southwestern had 19 offensive rebounds that led to 17 points.
“We have the poise and mental toughness to find a way to win but those are something we’ve got to get better at,” Showman said.
The Coyotes prevailed by making 23 of the 44 shots they took from the field (52.3 percent) and going 16 of 19 at the free throw line. They also limited Southwestern to 31.7 percent shooting (20 of 63) and forced 13 Moundbuilders turnovers.
Gabby Mureeba (JR/Allen, Texas) scored a game-high 18 points while Kelcey Hinz (SR/Whitewater, Kan.) had 17, seven rebounds, five blocks and four assists; Amanda Hill (SR/Rossville, Kan.) 14 points – including 4 of 6 shooting from deep – seven rebounds and three assists; and LaMyah Ricks (SO/Shawnee Mission, Kan.) 12 points, three assists and three steals.
Hinz and Mureeba were each 6 of 8 shooting from the field and Ricks 3 of 5.
Amanda Graddy scored 17 for Southwestern that included 5 of 7 shooting beyond the arc. Kewaysha Alsup added 10 points and Sidney Dennis had nine points and nine rebounds.
The Coyotes now turn their attention to their game against No. 8-ranked Sterling at 6 p.m. Thursday inside Mabee Arena. The Warriors (8-0, 4-0 KCAC) trounced Saint Mary 94-63 Monday night in Sterling and have won their four conference game by an average of 26.3 points. They defeated Tabor 74-53 Saturday in Hillsboro.