Starters Guide William Penn to Senior Day Win
Oskaloosa–For the second time in three home games, the Lady Statesmen cagers averted a buzzer-beating disaster in slipping by Mount Mercy for a 72-70 Midwest Collegiate Conference victory Saturday.
William Penn (17-8, 8-2 MCC) kept pace with Grand View at the top of the league standings behind four starters Orielle Thomas (Sr., Waynesville, Mo., Physical Education), Sarah Martin (Sr., Anthem, Ariz., Physical Education), Janay Pritchett (So., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Biology), and Katie Golomski (So., Milwaukee, Wis., Psychology).
The navy and gold rolled out to a 10-4 advantage early, but 31.3% shooting doomed the team to fall behind 36-29 at the break.
The hosts rallied in the second half, regaining the lead and going up as much as nine with ten minutes to go. Unfortunately, the Mustangs (7-19, 4-6 MCC) would not go away, knotting the contest at 64-64 with 5:18 remaining. The WPU margin grew to four two more times after that, but Mount Mercy answered with four straight to tie the contest one last time at 70-70 with 41 ticks remaining.
On its final possession, William Penn drained the play clock to its final seconds before finally running the play. The ball ended up in the left corner where Sam Abens (Jr., Knoxville, Iowa, Physical Education) launched up a three-pointer. It did not draw iron, however, but Thomas grabbed a weak side rebound out of the air, and unguarded, she put the ball back up for the go-ahead layup just before the shot clock went off (ten seconds left in the game).
The Mustangs called a timeout and then rushed the ball down the court. Brooke Quigley had an open look from deep on the left wing, but it fortunately would not fall.
William Penn outshot the visitors 43.1%-36.2%, overcoming deficits in rebounding (43-34; 21-14 second-chance points for MMU) and free throws (24-11). Both sides fared well in the turnover battle, combining for only 22 mistakes (ten for WPU).
Thomas posted her 12th double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Golomski hit three of her team’s five trifectas en route to 17 points, including 15 after intermission, while Martin nearly managed a double-double of her own with 15 points and nine rebounds (four assists). Pritchett finished with 14 points as well. Only two other players scored, tallying a combined five points.
Martin and Thomas each stole two passes in the win. Thomas’ 21-point performance leaves her just five points shy of the 1,000-point mark for her career.
“This was a great win, especially for our seniors who have been the driving force down the stretch,” Head Coach Mike Brown said. “The first half was not pretty for our shooters, but we responded well after halftime. Katie caught fire and Orielle was again amazing on the glass.”
“I have said it before but we have been in so many tight situations this year and our kids just do not panic,” Brown added. “It is a real tribute to their strong will and character.”
Next: William Penn travels to La Crosse, Wis. Wednesday to face Viterbo in MCC action at 5:30 p.m.