Schwartz, Strasko fuel Central to third straight women’s basketball win

Central College

CARLINVILLE, ILL.—Guard Alyssa Schwartz (senior, Titonka, WCLT HS) and forward Nicole Strasko (senior, Roland, Roland-Story HS) combined for 39 points, leading Central College to a 73-59 women’s basketball win over Blackburn College (Ill.) Tuesday.

It’s the third straight win for Central and the program’s best start since the 1994-95 season.

The two teams traded points in the opening minutes but the Dutch pulled away with a pair of 3-pointers from Schwartz, who finished the night with four 3’s and a game-high 21 points. Central took a 35-23 lead into intermission and kept the Beavers (0-3) at bay in the second half.

The Dutch shot 40 percent from the floor while limiting Blackburn to 29 percent.

“We executed offensively tonight,” coach Mike Jacobsma said. “We knew what we wanted to do with the ball and we got a lot of open looks.”

Strasko had 18 points and nine rebounds. Schwartz added five rebounds. Guard Jessy Stika (junior, Cresco, Crestwood HS) had nine points and six rebounds while guard Courtney Kelderman (junior, Pella) had six points. Guard Katie Kepford (senior, Dunlap, Boyer Valley HS) came off the bench and had four steals.

“I was happy with how our players off the bench did tonight,” Jacobsma said. “Courtney came in and knocked down 3’s and Katie played really scrappy.”

Guards Rachel Evans (sophomore, Fort Dodge) and Kalli Richardson (sophomore, Blairsburg, Northeast Hamilton HS) each had four steals.

“Rachel is a big part of our game plan,” Jacobsma said. “She was around the ball all night long, getting offensive rebounds and playing tenacious defense.”

The Dutch take a break for Thanksgiving before facing North Central College (Ill.) next Tuesday at 7 p.m. at P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium in Pella.

“Going into Thanksgiving break 3-0 is great and we’ll enjoy the win and time with our families,” Jacobsma said. “But we know that when we get back in the gym Friday we’ve got to get back to work. We’re back at 0-0.”

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