First half fuels Dutch women’s basketball victory
PELLA—The Central College women’s basketball team shot over 50 percent from the field in the first half and led by 11 at the intermission en route to a 62-55 victory over William Penn University Wednesday night.
The Dutch (7-1 overall) scored the first field goal of the game and never trailed, leading by as much as 12 points early in the second half. Guard Katie Sunderman (sophomore, Pella) scored her lone basket of the game—a 3-pointer—as time expired in the first half, pushing the Central lead into double digits.
“We beat a very good William Penn team tonight,” coach Chelsea Petersen said. “The difference in this game was the way we started. We were ready to go and played the most complete 40 minutes we have put together all season.”
Central held William Penn (7-6 overall) to 29.0 percent from the floor (18-of-62) while shooting 41.8 percent on the other end (23-of-55) and scoring 34 points in the paint. The Dutch racked up seven steals and three blocked shots, all while committing only 16 personal fouls. Central also registered a season-low nine turnovers and converted on 12-of-14 attempts from the free throw line.
It was enough to overcome William Penn’s 18 offensive rebounds and 43-35 advantage on the glass.
“We emphasize the defensive end of the court,” said Petersen. “It’s important to take care of things on defense and value each possession on offense, especially when you have a lead. William Penn stepped up its pressure in the second half, but we stayed in our game plan and executed down the stretch.
“We need to box out better, particularly when we’re in our zone defense. But once again we did enough to win.”
It’s Central’s first win over a team with a winning record this season and it’s first win over William Penn since Feb. 10, 2001 (a 94-45 win at Pella).
“We have practiced hard, focused on the game plan and executed,” Petersen said. “Tonight is definitely a good win, but no win this season has come easy.”
Guards Kenzie Vander Molen (junior, Pella) and Kaitlin Stump (sophomore, Lancaster, Mo., Schuyler R-1 HS)—who played 30 minutes off the bench—scored a game-high 18 points apiece. Stump had only six points at half, but finished 6-of-11 from the field and 6-of-6 from the free throw line, while Vander Molen was 7-of-15 from the field, 1-of-4 from 3-point range and 3-of-4 from the free throw line. Stump and Vander Molen also hauled in five and four rebounds, respectively.
Forward Jessy Stika (senior, Cresco)—measuring six inches shorter than her counterpart—grabbed a game-high nine rebounds and chipped in four points and three assists. Guards Rachel Evans (junior, Fort Dodge) and Emily Neff (freshman, Cedar Falls) posted seven points and four rebounds, each.
Eight out of nine Central players who logged minutes scored at least two points.
“We did a great job of keeping our composure in the first half and closing it out in the second half,” said Petersen. “When a game is this close, each player’s role is valuable. It was a great team win.”
The Dutch return to the court Saturday at 2 p.m. in a nonconference game against Augustana (Ill.) at Rock Island, Ill. Last season Central held the Vikings to 19 second-half points en route to a 51-43 victory at Pella. Guard Kalli Richardson (junior, Blairsburg, Northeast Hamilton HS) led the Dutch with 16 points in the win.