Strong defensive effort leads Women’s Basketball to 59-47 win over McPherson

McPHERSON – Kansas Wesleyan women’s coach Ryan Showman was not pleased with his team’s performance on the offensive end of the court Wednesday night.

“We’d been off for 11 days and were very sloppy with turnovers and missed assignments in the first half,” he said on his postgame radio show.

Things didn’t improve much the second half but Showman saw plenty to like at the other end of the floor.

“We got a whole lot better defensively,” he said following the Coyotes’ 59-47 Kansas Conference victory in the Sport Center. “We held them to 23 points in the second half. Defense travels, we control that, that’s all effort. I was really pleased with how we came out in the second half.”

There was, indeed, a lot to like. The Coyotes (4-5, 2-1 KCAC) forced 28 McPherson turnovers that led to a whopping 37 points, had 16 steals, and limited the Bulldogs to 29.8 percent shooting (17 of 57) for the game.

Part of KWU’s offensive woes were turnover related as ell – 23 for the game but resulted in just 10 McPherson points.

“We got the (early) 12-2 lead and then we started turning the ball over and giving it up,” Showman said. “When we had a chance to maybe get some distance between us early, we couldn’t really do that.”

McPherson (4-4, 0-3) had one field goal the first quarter but trailed just 17-7. Jill Stephens’ 3-pointer three seconds before halftime extended the Coyotes’ lead to 31-24 at the break and salvaged a rough second quarter that saw them score five points the final 5:53.

Twelve of the Bulldogs’ 24 points the first half came at the free throw line; KWU did not shoot a free throw the first 20 minutes.

LaMyah Ricks’ 3-pointer with 4:41 left in the third quarter gave the Coyotes a 42-33 lead. Another offensive lull resulted in one point the rest of the quarter but they took a 45-35 lead into the final 10 minutes thanks to their defensive work.

“When we’re struggling to execute in the halfcourt we’ve got to find other ways to manufacture offense,” Showman said. “We weren’t getting to the free throw line as part of our execution problems. We had to find other ways to turn them over and take it the other way and I thought we did a really good job of that.”

KWU pulled away by opening the fourth quarter on an 11-2 run and led 56-37 with 3:26 left.

Stephens led the way with 12 points and had six rebounds. Ricks had 10 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals, and Daijane Adams and Angel Lee scored eight apiece. KWU shot 34.8 percent for the game (23 of 66) – 9 of 24 from beyond the arc – and was 4 of 7 at the line.

Chloe Clevenger had 12 points and 10 rebounds for McPherson, which was 12 of 19 at the line but just 1 of 5 from long range.

“Credit our team, we knocked the rust off from the Thanksgiving break and we’ll be better from this moving forward,” Showman said.

The Coyotes play arch rival Bethany at 5 p.m. Saturday inside Mabee Arena in their next game. The Swedes (4-5, 2-1 KCAC) lost to Friends 69-51 Wednesday night in Lindsborg.