Central women’s basketball rally falls short

Central College

Central College

PELLA—Despite a second half surge, the Central College women’s basketball team fell just one point short to conference rival University of Dubuque Saturday afternoon, 53-52.

Three free throws from guard Courtney Kelderman (senior, Pella) gave Central a 52-51 lead with 40 seconds remaining, but with 20 seconds left, Dubuque threw up a field goal for the lead. A missed 3-pointer and turnover by Central in the final five seconds cost the Dutch the game.

“I am proud of the team for continuing to fight,” said interim head coach Chelsea Petersen. “They were in a position at the end of regulation to win.”

The Dutch (9-4 overall, 1-1 conference) opened the game with a 3-0 lead, but slowly fell behind. Central remained within four points of Dubuque (9-4 overall, 2-0 conference) the entire first half, only trailing 29-25 by halftime.

“We came out and played a skilled and physical Dubuque team,” said Petersen. “We did what we needed to do on the defensive end. Dubuque is averaging 90 points per game, and we held them to just 53 points.

“However, when Dubuque made a defensive adjustment, it took us too long to adjust offensively which led to a lot of unforced turnovers,” she said. “We lost because of those turnovers, and in a conference match it is important to be strong with the ball, and today we weren’t.”

The Dutch only shot 28.6 percent from the field to Dubuque’s 33.8 percent. Central had six more turnovers than the Spartans with 18.

Guard Kenzie Vander Molen (junior, Pella) scored a team-high 19 points and added three assists. Kelderman and forward Bry Pierce (junior, St. Clair, Mo.) each contributed 11 points. Pierce pulled down seven rebounds while Kelderman had six boards. Guard Rachel Evans (junior, Fort Dodge) led the team in rebounds with 11 and also had three assists.

“Bry had an outstanding game off the bench,” said Petersen. “She was able to do well offensively and she slowed down what Dubuque wanted to do offensively.”

Petersen hopes to see improvement in their next game against Wartburg College Wednesday. Tipoff is schedule for 6 p.m. in Waverly.

“The positive of any game like this is that we can take away point of improvement in order to win future games.”

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