Central women’s basketball team stumbles in overtime

Central College

Central College

PELLA— Despite an eight-point lead with less than 5 minutes remaining, the Central College women’s basketball squad couldn’t hold off a furious Wartburg College comeback that knocked down the Dutch 55-49 in overtime.

“We played tremendous defense in the first half,” said coach Mike Jacobsma. “We battled for every possession which put us in great position at halftime.”

Ahead 22-16 at the break the half, Central (10-10 overall, 3-6 conference) added to its lead in the first 2 minutes with two unanswered layups. The Knights (12-8 overall, 5-4 conference) responded, coming within one point at 15:43 after making an 8-0 run.

With just 6:08 left, the Knights made a push, tying the game at 40. The Dutch answered with two 3-pointers and a shot from the field, going on an 8-3 run. At 4:20, guard Alyssa Schwartz (senior, Titonka, WCLT HS) fired off a 3-pointer to push the lead to 48-40. But Central was scoreless the rest of the way, with five missed shots and a turnover resulting in a 48-48 tie at the end of regulation.

“After halftime, Wartburg came out firing, and we expected that,” Jacobsma said. “We matched up with them for most of the half, but they ended up getting to the free throw line more and they made more layups.”

In overtime, Wartburg reeled off seven points, sealing the win. The Knights outshot the Dutch 36 percent to 32.1 percent from the field, and Central was outrebounded 38-36.

Schwartz drained 14 points and picked up seven rebounds. Center Bry Pierce (sophomore, St. Clair, Mo.) scored 10 points and had six rebounds. Forward Nicole Strasko (senior, Roland, Roland-Story HS) added eight points and a team-high nine rebounds. Guard Kalli Richardson (sophomore, Blairsburg, Northeast Hamilton HS) had seven points.

“Offensively we have to get our shots in,” said Jacobsma. “Remembering those little details to put us in position to knock down shots will give us the edge we need.”

Wednesday Central will take on conference rival Luther College (12-9 overall, 4-6 conference) in Decorah at 6 p.m. The Dutch handled the Norse in Pella January 12, 81-69.

“We played with a lot of heart today,” said Jacobsma. “We need to use this game as motivation going into our next conference game.”

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