The Kansas Wesleyan women closed out their trip to Arizona and the 2022 portion of their schedule with a victory in the desert.
The Coyotes used three second-half scoring runs in pulling away for a 74-62 non-conference victory over Park Gilbert on Monday afternoon.
The victory sends them into the holiday break with an 8-6 record that includes two victories in the Phoenix area. They pummeled SAGU-American Indian College 76-27 Saturday in Phoenix.
Four Coyotes scored in double figures against Park-Gilbert led by Jill Stephens (SO/Colby, Kan.) with 13 points including three 3-pointers. Angel Lee (SO/Grandview, Mo.) and Tylieea Wallace (SO/Overland Park, Kan.) scored 12 apiece – Wallace also snagged 11 rebounds – and Caila Hill (SR/Rossville, Kan.) had 10 points and six rebounds.
“Just really good team play and a really good road win – really good win to give us some momentum going into the second half (of the season),” KWU coach Ryan Showman said.
Wesleyan scored the last four points of the second quarter and took a 28-26 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Trailing 30-28 early in the third quarter the Coyotes went on a pivotal 11-0 run that included seven consecutive points from Angel Lee and made it 36-30 with 5:15 left in the quarter.
KWU led 45-38 after three quarters and pulled away with a 10-4 surge that increased the advantage to 65-50 with 3:21 left in the game. Any lingering suspense evaporated with a 7-0 run for a 72-56 lead with just 1:22 remaining.
After employing full-court pressure the first half Showman told his team to back off and focus on defending in the half court. It worked to perfection.
“They got out in transition the first half so we opted not to press,” he said. “I told them at halftime ‘we’re going to win this thing in the half court’ and I thought we made life really difficult for them in the second half.
“I thought that second half was a snapshot of the team we can be – just gritty, tough and outwork you.”
The Coyotes shot 46 percent (30 of 65), 5 of 19 from beyond the arc, 9 of 15 at the foul line and won the rebounding battle 39-35 which helped them overcome 18 turnovers.
Park Gilbert shot 38.6 percent (22 of 57), was 2 of 10 from deep and 16 of 23 at the line. Kiana Turenne had 21 points and Macy Markus 18 for the Buccaneers, who committed 19 turnovers.
Showman said he’s pleased with the way his team has responded after a tough start to the season. KWU has won eight of its last nine.
“The 0-5 start put into perspective a little bit of what we needed to do better and we’ve done that,” he said. “It was ‘let’s get back on the right side of .500 and keep going.’ These last two games give a cushion we haven’t had all year. I still think our best basketball is ahead of us.”
After a 16-day pause the Coyotes resume play against Kansas Conference foe Tabor at 6 p.m. January 4 in Hillsboro.