SALINA — The 17 day layoff was evident in the McPherson College women’s basketball team Friday afternoon at the Rib Crib-Kansas Wesleyan Coyote Classic.

The Bulldogs only had a few days of practice to prepare for the Drovers, and it showed from the very beginning. USAO jumped out to a big lead early on and never let up, defeating the Bulldogs 83-55 inside Mabee Arena on the campus of Kansas Wesleyan.

McPherson is now 9-5 on the season, but only 1-5 away from home.

“We need to get back in rhythm,” head coach Gordon Reimer said. “We were sloppy and didn’t execute, and that’s just from not practicing very much lately.”

It was all Drovers from the start.

The Bulldogs battled foul trouble in the first quarter and immediately found themselves in a 15-4 hole. With 36 seconds left in the quarter, Kristina Battle nailed a 3-pointer to cut the USAO lead in half, but the Drovers connected on a jumper on their next possession to take a 24-11 lead after one.

The second quarter was not any better for the Bulldogs. The Drovers outscored the Bulldogs 13-6 in the second quarter to take a 20-point lead into halftime.

In the first half, McPherson shot 4 of 24 from the field, including 1 of 10 from beyond the arc. The Bulldogs also had 10 turnovers in the game’s first 20 minutes.

The Bulldogs were much better offensively in the second half, shooting 39 percent from the field in the third and fourth quarters. However, the 3-ball was not falling all night, as McPherson finished 3 of 23 from beyond the arc.

Fortunately, the Bulldogs have less than 24 hours to dwell on this loss before returning to Salina on Saturday to face Doane University, who enters Saturday with a 5-10 record overall.

“Our shots didn’t go in,” Reimer said. “I think part of that is we need to get back in the gym and get some shots up.”

Game time at Mabee arena is scheduled for noon.

Contact Gallagher Martin by email at gmartin@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow him on Twitter @GMartinSentinel