William Penn Advances to Semis with 58-49 Win Over AIB
Oskaloosa–The Statesmen women’s basketball team was pushed to the limit, but kept its season alive with a 58-49 victory over #7 seed AIB in the quarterfinals of the Midwest Collegiate Conference Tournament Friday.
With the win, #2 seed William Penn (19-9) will remain in Oskaloosa Sunday to face #3 seed St. Ambrose in the tourney semifinals. After not getting out of the quarterfinals for six consecutive seasons (2005-2010), the Statesmen have an opportunity to make it to the league’s championship game for the third year in a row.
Top-seeded Grand View will host #4 seed Mount Mercy in Des Moines in Sunday’s other semifinal.
The navy and gold led the Eagles (5-23) by just one at 46-45 with 9:03 remaining, but pulled away from the visitors with a 12-4 run to close out the night.
AIB paced the tempo in the low-scoring affair as William Penn was held under 60 points despite outshooting AIB 44.6%-33.3%, including a 51.9% clip after halftime.
“This was kind of an ugly game to watch with a large part of that due to AIB slowing down the pace and taking the speed element away from us,” William Penn Head Coach Mike Brown said. “We also had a tough time hitting any shots from the arc (WPU went 1-of-13 from the perimeter). That is a big part of our game that was absent tonight.”
The Statesmen also dominated the glass, 43-24 (12-3 offensively), but unfortunately did little with those extra chances (6-0 in second-chance points). The Eagles committed just nine turnovers compared to 14 for the hosts.
Janay Pritchett (So., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Biology) led all scorers with 18 points, while Orielle Thomas (Sr., Waynesville, Mo., Physical Education) produced her 14th double-double with 14 points and 16 rebounds. The senior managed two steals as well.
Jessie Kreuser (So., Mendota Heights, Minn., Undecided) just missed double figures with nine points and Taylor Reed (Sr., Kalamazoo, Mich., Communication) contributed six points. Sarah Martin (Sr., Anthem, Ariz., Physical Education) assisted on five baskets.
“Janay was really good in the second half,” Brown said. “Her short-range pull-up jumper was really solid and she also added a new dimension to her game with a few sweet dishes to some cutting teammates. When she continues to develop that part of her game, she will be even more of a nightmare to handle. “
“Orielle and Taylor were tremendous on the offensive glass all night,” Brown added. “They gave us a lot of extra possessions all night and you need that when you are struggling to score.”
“All in all, it does not have to be pretty in the postseason–you just have to survive and advance,” Brown said. “We are looking forward to the opportunity to meet St. Ambrose again on Sunday afternoon. I hope we can get a good crowd on hand.”