Women’s Basketball falls to Spires 59-55

Kansas Wesleyan Women’s Basketball faced the top team in the KCAC on Saturday in the University of Saint Mary Spires.The Coyotes battled to the end, but a fourth-quarter run by Saint Mary was the difference as USM came away with a 59-55 win at Mabee Arena.It was the final game before the semester break for the Coyotes, who head into the break at 5-7 overall and 3-3 in the KCAC. Saint Mary improved to 8-2 overall and stays unbeaten in the KCAC at 6-0.The Coyotes led 41-40 with 9:06 left in the fourth when Skyler Evans scored it but Saint Mary was able to go on a 6-0 run to take a 46-41 lead with 6:41 left. Back came the Coyotes on a bucket by Catherine Bowman and a 3-pointer by Jill Stephens to tie it at 46-all with 5:52 to go.Saint Mary scored the next eight points on a decisive run that made it 54-46 with 3:36 to go. The Coyotes made a run at it down the stretch, getting back within two with 24 seconds left on free throws by Bowman, but couldn’t find the game-tying or go-ahead bucket.Wesleyan sped out to a 6-0 start to the game after Stephens’ four-point play and led 8-2 when Saint Mary closed the first quarter on an 18-6 run to lead 20-14 after a quarter.The Coyotes came back and scored the first six of the second to tie it at 20 with 7:16 left on a bucket by Brooke Strine, but Saint Mary pushed its lead back out to six at 27-21 with 3:33 left in the half. Back came the Coyotes again as Megan Foote scored, Daijane Adams hit a 3, and LaMyah Ricks hit a pair of free throws to send the Coyotes into the half leading 28-27.The third quarter was a tight-knit affair as the teams were never separated by more than four points when Saint Mary took a 40-36 lead just before the end of the quarter.Wesleyan shot 30.8 percent from the field, going 8 of 26 in both halves to finish 16 of 52 from the field, but countered with 19 of 28 shooting at the line. The Coyotes dominated the rebounding totals 48-30 led by nine from Strine, eight from Evans and six by Ricks. Stephens led the Coyotes in scoring with 15, while Bowman added 11.The Coyotes are off until December 30, when they head to Maryville, Mo., for an exhibition against Northwest Missouri State. KWU returns to KCAC action on January 3 at Southwestern, then hosts Tabor on January 6.