Sonerka White scored a game-high 23 points off the bench to lead the McPherson College women's basketball team to a 62-52 victory in Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference play Saturday night at the Sport Center.
After a scoreless spell lasting nearly two minutes to open the game, Emma Van Donselaar scored to give the Bulldogs (12-11, 8-8 KCAC) the early lead. The Warriors (14-9, 11-5 KCAC) battled back, scoring nine of the next 12 points to take a 9-5 lead with 3:55 left in the opening frame. McPherson responded though, tying the game at 11 less than a minute later on a White 3-pointer. After conceding a layup to Alexis Theus, Brooke Zimmerman hit back-to-back baskets and Kristina Battle sank a free throw to give the Bulldogs a 16-13 lead after one quarter.
McPherson scored the first four points of a slow-moving second quarter to build the lead to seven with 5:53 left in the half. Sterling was able to rally, taking advantage of three Bulldog turnovers and a couple of errant 3-pointers to tie the game at 20 when Theus completed an old-fashioned 3-point play at the 3:12 mark. The Warriors were unable to regain the lead as the Bulldogs closed out the half on a 5-1 run capped by a basket and free throw from Battle with 19 seconds left to lead 25-21 at the break.
Van Donselaar again provide the ice-breaker in the second half, extending the McPherson lead to six, but Sterling rallied for the next five points to get within one at 27-26. The Bulldogs followed with a 12-1 run capped by back-to-back 3-pointers by Cami Richardson to make it a 12-point game. McPherson was able to maintain a double-digit lead down the stretch, taking a 44-34 advantage into the final quarter.
Playing the final quarter without all-KCAC guard Kylah Comley due to an injury, Sterling outscored McPherson, 18-10, over the first seven minutes of the frame. A second-chance layup by Jessica Princ with 3:04 left in the game drew the Warriors within two at 54-52, but Sterling would be shut out the rest of the way. White drained a 3-pointer and Brooklyn Coe followed with a layup to give the Bulldogs breathing room, while a trio of free throws provided the final margin.
McPherson held a 37-32 advantage on the boards and shot 43.1 percent (22-of-51) overall. The Bulldogs also drained seven 3-pointers in the contest. Sterling shot 32.7 percent (18-of-55) from the field but just 14.8 percent (4-of-27) from 3-point range.
White reached her point total on 8-of-17 shooting from the field, including 4-of-10 from 3-point range. She also had three rebounds and a pair of steals. Richardson added 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting with a pair of 3-pointers, a team-high seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and a blocked shot.
Coe chipped in with seven points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals and Battle had six points.
Princ led Sterling with 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting. She also pulled down six rebounds and had three assists. Greer added 11 points and Theus nine, while Comley finished six points and a game-high 10 rebounds before leaving the game with less than a minute left in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs hope an emerging trend continues - at least for one more game - when they host No. 22 Friends University Wednesday evening at the Sport Center. Tipoff from the Sport Center is 6 p.m.