Ryan Showman was as disappointed as anyone with outcome of his Kansas Wesleyan women’s basketball game against No. 19-ranked Sterling but he also was far from devastated.
The Warriors scored the game’s first 11 points, led by as many as 27 in the fourth quarter and won 76-57 Tuesday night inside Mabee Arena.
The loss ended the Coyotes’ six-game winning streak and dropped them to 6-6 overall and 6-2 in the Kansas Conference. Sterling improved to 10-3 and 7-1 with its seventh consecutive victory.
KWU missed its first 10 shots of the game and trailed 17-5 after the first quarter. A 7-3 spurt to end the second quarter got the Coyotes within 35-23 at halftime but Sterling, the two-time defending KCAC champions, opened the second half with an 8-2 run and outscored KWU 16-8 in the quarter. Wesleyan got no closer than 18 in the final period.
Showman, though, took a pragmatic approach afterwards.
“This shows us that we’re not where we want to be right now,” he said. “We’ve still got a lot of growth to do. I thought we’ve done a really great job the last three weeks but this game kind of put some things in perspective that we’re not there yet.
“The key word is yet and you have to have that growth mindset that we’re going to continue to have.”
The Coyotes shot 34 percent (21 of 62) – 26 percent the first half (8 of 31). They were 8 of 30 from beyond the arc and 7 of 13 at the free throw line for the game, were outrebounded 45-36 and committed 16 turnovers.
LaMyah Ricks (JR/Shawnee Mission, Kan.) led the scoring with 12 points on four 4-pointers to go along with six rebounds, four assists and four steals. Tylieea Wallace (SO/Overland Park, Kan.) had another strong game with 11 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals and Caila Hill (SR/Rossville, Kan.) had 10 points, five rebounds and two blocks. Catherine Bowman (SO/Bucklin, Kan.) added nine points and four rebounds.
It wasn’t enough to overcome Sterling’s balanced attack, though. Seniors Bailey Albright and Karsen Schultz scored 19 points apiece with Schultz also tallying 13 rebounds and four steals. Korynn Clason scored 14 points.
Sterling shot 44.6 percent (29 of 65), was 5 of 9 from long range, 13 of 15 at the foul line and had 14 turnovers.
“I told (the team) whether we won or lost this game doesn’t define our season,” Showman said. “At this point in the year we’ve got so much basketball left and I think that’s the silver lining in all this. We’re not a finished product and when we play them again six weeks from now, we’ll be a different team than what they saw tonight.”
The Coyotes head for Arizona later this week for two non-conference games in Phoenix starting with SAGU-American Indian College at 6 p.m. Central time Saturday. They play Park-Gilbert at 3 p.m. Monday before departing for a 15-day holiday break.
KWU resumes conference play against Tabor at 6 p.m. January 4 in Hillsboro.