Over the past couple years, the Saint Mary women’s basketball team had the number on Kansas Wesleyan.
The Spires couldn’t deny the Coyotes this time.
Wesleyan scored 27 points off 25 turnovers, sophomore Virja Lewis recorded a monster double-double, and the Coyotes picked up their fourth consecutive victory, throttling the Spires 74-55. With the win, Kansas Wesleyan snapped a five-game losing skid to St. Mary, defeating the Spires for the first time since December 10, 2015.
The domination didn’t come easy as the Spires (2-7, 1-5 KCAC) only trailed 20-16 after the first quarter. Kansas Wesleyan locked down St. Mary from there, holding the Spires without a field goal for half the second frame, building a 39-24 advantage at the half.
The Coyotes (7-4, 5-1) put away the Spires for good, attacking the glass and pulling down 10 of their 22 offensive rebounds in the second half, finishing with 17 second-chance points.
Junior Courtney Heinen paced four double-digit scorers for KWU, totaling a season-high 13 points. Seniors Sydney Mortensen and Gabbie Miller chipped in 11 points each. Lewis was the Salina Ortho Player of the Game, pouring in 12 points and hauling in 13 rebounds.
Danielle Cassady led the Spires with 18 points on 6-of-14 shooting.
Kansas Wesleyan heads to Ottawa Saturday. Tipoff at 3, pregame at 2:45 on FM 104.9, ksal.com and the Rocking M Media app.
Kansas Wesleyan 84, St. Mary 48
The men followed in the footsteps of the women, using a swarming defense to get the win.
After watching an eight-point lead go down to four, Wesleyan responded with a 9-0 burst, giving the Coyotes a double-digit advantage.
The Spires (3-6, 3-3 KCAC) forced the margin to dip to nine, but they couldn’t keep up with the runnin’ Coyotes as KWU blew past St. Mary en route to a 44-20 halftime cushion.
Kansas Wesleyan (5-4, 3-3) forced 22 turnovers and cashed in the other way, pouring in 26 points off mistakes. KWU also pounded the paint, led by the three-headed monster in sophomore AJ Range, junior Jordan McNelly, and senior Ithello Cross.
Range posted his second straight 12-point night while pulling down five rebounds. Cross was a perfect 6-for-6, scoring 12 points in 11 minutes. McNelly earned the Salina Ortho Player of the Game, totaling 13 points and five rebounds. Junior James Brooks added 15 points, making 3-of-4 shots from deep.
Cameron Southern paced the Spires with 13 points, who made just 35 percent of their shots.