The McPherson College women's basketball team remained unbeaten with a 67-60 victory over Haskell Indian Nations University Saturday afternoon at the Sport Center in the Bulldogs' final game of the McPherson Classic.
The Bulldogs (3-0) jumped out to a 15-6 lead midway through the first quarter as six different players found the scoring column led by four points by Cami Richardson. The Indians (0-4) responded with an 11-5 run to close out the frame, cutting the deficit to three at 20-17.
Haskell continued to chip away at the McPherson lead, moving in front for the first time at the 4:25 mark of the second quarter on a basket by Janee Bates. The Bulldogs used a 9-2 run bookended by a pair of Kristina Battle 3-pointers to retake the lead, holding a 35-28 advantage with 1:49 to play. Paige Dale and Bates made baskets to move Haskell within three as halftime approached, but Elle Gillen sank a pair of free throws and Julie Olvera hit a 3-pointer to give McPherson a 40-32 lead at the break.
The hosts opened the second half on an 11-5 run powered by six points from Danielle Holt. A layup by Brooklyn Coe just past the midway point of the quarter capped the run, extending the Bulldog lead to 14 at 51-37. McPherson went cold from the field from there, missing seven straight shots and turning the ball over six times down the stretch as Haskell scored 12 straight to cut the lead to just two as the game entered its final stanza.
The Indians' momentum did not carry over into the fourth quarter, however. McPherson scored the first four points of the frame, eventually extending the lead back to nine on a Richardson layup with 2:40 to play. The Bulldogs were able to maintain at least a two-possession lead the rest of the way.
Coe and Battle each scored 11 points to lead McPherson, while Richardson fell one rebound shy of a double-double with 10 points and nine assists. She also had team-highs with four assists and two blocks. Coe chipped in with three assists and three steals. Holt, Sonerka White and Maressah Milum all finished with seven points, while Olvera provided a solid five points, five rebounds and four steals off the bench.
The Bulldogs started off relatively cold from the field, shooting under 40 percent from the field in each of the first three quarters before hitting 60 percent of their shots in the final quarter to finish right at 40 percent for the game (24-of-60). McPherson's free throw shooting went in the opposite direction. After hitting nine of 11 attempts in the first half, the Bulldogs were held without an attempt in the third quarter and hit just four of 10 in the fourth. McPherson also had a 40-35 advantage on the glass.
Keli Warrior led Haskell with 19 points on 6-of-14 shooting. She was also 7-of-9 from the line. Tiana Guillory added 12 points, while Cole Gunville had nine points and five rebounds.
The Bulldogs return to the court Wednesday evening when crosstown rival Central Christian College visits the Sport Center in the annual Battle for McPherson. Tip-off is slated for 6 p.m.