After losing three of the last four games, Kansas Wesleyan women’s basketball head coach Ryan Showman challenged his squad.
The Coyotes answer.
Sophomore Courtney Heinen poured in 19 points in her first career start, Kansas Wesleyan (14-12, 11-7) made 10 free throws in the final quarter, and the Coyotes held on for a 67-63 victory against Sterling at Mabee Arena Saturday night.
KWU’s defense set the tone, not allowing a Sterling bucket until the 4:20 mark in the first quarter when KWU was up 9-1. The Warriors battled back, despite going 4-of-15 from the field, only trailing 15-10 after the first frame.
Wesleyan used a 7-0 spurt to open the second stanza, pushing the lead to 22-10. The Coyotes wouldn’t stop there, recording their largest advantage at the 1:06 mark, leading 34-16.
After making 29 percent of their shots in the opening half, the Warriors (14-11, 11-7) charged back, trimming the deficit to 36-31 before a three by KWU senior Mariah Knox. The Tulsa, Okla. native added another triple to balloon the lead back out to double figures.
Following Sterling’s cut to make it 46-41, Heinen sparked a 7-0 run, nailing a three and drilling a layup to make it 53-41 in the fourth quarter. The craziness didn’t stop there as Sterling senior Kilee Harris connected on a three while being fouled for the four-point play. Senior Jordin Greer added another three to bring the margin down to 55-52 with under four minutes to go. The Warriors were able to get to within two, but the Coyotes made free throws down the stretch.
Junior Gabbie Miller filled the stat sheet, recording 12 points, eight rebounds and three steals. Sophomore Haleigh Bradford added 11 points while Knox chipped in 10. Harris led the charge for Sterling, ending up with 19 points.
Wesleyan stays at Mabee Arena on Wednesday, welcoming the Friends Falcons. Pregame starts at 5:45 on FM 104.9.
KANSAS WESLEYAN 73, STERLING 66
Sterling came into the game averaging nine threes a game.
KWU (14-10, 12-6) took that away in the first half, holding the Warriors to 0-for-6 from beyond the arc. For a good portion of the opening half, the two squads combined for 22 points with KWU leading 15-7. The Coyotes held the Warriors to 35 percent from the floor, building a 31-19 cushion at the break.
The second half saw both offenses take control. Kansas Wesleyan ballooned the largest lead out to 16 points, 58-42 with 7:05 remaining in the game. Sterling cut the deficit down to single digits late in the contest, but Wesleyan hung on for the win.
Senior Terell Gandy paced the Coyotes with a career-high 23 points and team-high seven rebounds. Freshman Darius Hammond added 13 points while junior Ithello Cross provided 10 points and seven blocks. Redshirt freshman Marquis Kraemer dished out seven assists. Sterling (7-18, 5-13) freshman Jamiah Windom-Haynes exploded for a career-high 31 points.