LEAVENWORTH—Despite having been eliminated from postseason play, the McPherson College women's basketball team continues to play hard down the stretch. Playing for their seniors, and building for the future, the Bulldogs picked up another road win on Monday night, defeating the University of St. Mary Spires 63-50.
As a team, the Bulldogs didn't shoot the ball particularly well, but they got another monster performance in the paint from Brittany Roberts. Roberts had another impressive stat line, recording her 13th double-double of the season, with 21 points and 16 rebounds, and also added four steals, two assists and two steals.
The Bulldogs never trailed in the game and used their defense to set up their offense. They forced the Spires into 28 turnovers and then turned those miscues into 20 points. Like they did on Saturday against Ottawa, the Bulldog won nearly every statistical category on the stat sheet. They won the battle of the boards 42-40, had 22 steals to just eight for the Spires, outscored the Spires 28-24 in the paint and had 25 points from their bench to just 19 for the home team.
At the end of the first quarter, the Bulldogs led the Spires 17-10, and heading into the locker room at the end of the half, the lead had grown to 16, 36-20. Midway through the third period, they had extended the lead out to 21, before the Spires closed out the quarter on a 12-6 run to cut the lead to 15, 51-36. The Spires picked up where they left off in the third quarter, scoring seven of the first eight points to trim the lead to single-digits, 52-41 with 8:16 remaining. With the momentum swinging toward the Spires, Elle Gillen hit a big three pointer to put the Bulldog back up by 12, ending the Spires' run and silencing their crowd. Down the stretch, they led again by 20, before the Spires closed out the game on a 7-0, but it was too late and time expired and the Bulldogs escaped with the win 13 point victory.
Roberts was the only Bulldog to score in double figures, but Julie Olvera was the closest, coming off the bench to score eight.
"It was an outstanding defensive effort tonight", Bulldog head coach Josh Nichols said. "Even though we didn't shoot from outside very well, we were able to get points off turnovers." Nichols lauded the play of Roberts saying, "I thought Brittany played extremely well, controlling the glass." He also praised his seniors saying, "I am really proud of our seniors who stepped up in a big way. Bela [Raimondi] played excellent defense and was aggressive on offense. Julie [Olvera] played maybe her best game of the season. She had five steals and knocked down a couple of threes, and Brooke [DeLuca] had two big threes in the third quarter when USM was trying to make a run."
With the win, the Bulldogs are now 12-17 on the season and 8-15 in KCAC play. They will wrap up their season at home on Saturday, welcoming the Bethel College Threshers to the Sport Center on Senior Night. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m., and they will honor their seven seniors between their game and the men's game that is slated for 7 p.m.