STERLING — The McPherson College women's basketball team used an 18-4 run to cut a 15-point third-quarter deficit to one, but could not regain the lead in an 80-72 Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference loss to Sterling College Saturday night at the Gleason PE Center.
McPherson (7-3, 3-2 KCAC) jumped out to a 14-6 lead in the first quarter behind five early points by Sonerka White, but Sterling (5-3, 4-1 KCAC) scored back-to-back baskets as the frame drew to a close to make it a four-point game.
The Warriors scored the first two points of the second quarter on a pair of Kylah Comley free throws, but McPherson responded with five straight as Brittany Roberts hit a layup and Danielle Holt converted a 3-point play to give the Bulldogs a 19-12 lead with 7:54 to play in the half.
Turnovers limited McPherson's scoring chances the rest of the half, allowing the Warriors to rattle off 10 straight as part of a 24-5 run to close out the period. The Bulldogs committed nine turnovers during that stretch and were held to just six shots, making two, as Sterling took a 36-24 halftime lead.
The Warriors extended the lead to 15 points in the first minute of the second half only to see McPherson charge back with an 18-4 lead to cut the deficit to just one on a White layup with 3:47 to play in the quarter. White scored nine of her team-high 21 points during the stretch.
Jordin Greer kept the Bulldogs from regaining the lead by draining a 3-pointer on Sterling's next trip down the court. McPherson kept the game close as the quarter wound down, trailing by just two after Brooklyn Coe drained a pair of free throws with 45 seconds left, but Comley hit a free throw and a 3-pointer in the final seconds to push the Warrior lead to 57-51 headed to the final quarter.
McPherson trimmed the advantage to four on a pair of occasions in the fourth quarter but could get no closer. Sterling kept the Bulldogs at arm's length by draining 11 of 16 free throw attempts in the final session.
The Bulldogs were limited to 34.6 percent (9-of-26) shooting in the first but rebounded to shoot 51.5 percent (17-of-33) in the second half. McPherson, however, did win the battle on the boards by a 36-27 margin.
White led three McPherson players in double figures with 21 points on 8-of-19 shooting. She also had three steals. Richardson added 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting while posting team-highs in rebounds (6) and assists (5) before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Coe had 13 points, mostly from the free throw line where she converted six of seven opportunities. Holt added eight points, while Zimmerman had five point and five rebounds.
The Warriors shot 46.4 percent (13-of-28) from the field in the first half and picked up 24 of their 36 first-half points off 16 McPherson turnovers.
Comley scored a game-high 30 points on 8-of-16 shooting with three 3-pointers and an 11-of-14 effort at the free-throw line to lead Sterling. She also had four steals and three assists. Alexis Theus added 18 points off the bench on 8-of-13 shooting while pulling down five boards and posting three steals. Greer and Jessica Princ added 13 points apiece.
McPherson travels to Wichita Wednesday night to face No. 21 Friends University (6-4, 4-1 KCAC) Wednesday night.