Central women’s basketball comeback foiled by Luther

Central Dutch Athletics

Central Dutch Athletics

PELLA—It was the kind of second-half effort the Central College women’s basketball has been looking for but not the finish it needed as Luther College hung on for a 63-57 decision Saturday.

The Dutch (7-16 overall, 3-11 American Rivers) were down 35-29 at intermission and trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half, but a late third-quarter 16-5 surge gave them a brief lead before ending the period tied 47-47. Luther (10-11 overall, 9-5 conference) regained control at 56-51 with 5:20 left in the game but Central closed within 60-57 with 2:35 remaining and had three possessions with a chance to tie it only to come up empty. A Norse layup and free throw with 12 seconds left sealed it.

“More than anything, I was really proud of our effort throughout the game,” coach Joe Steinkamp said. “We gave up some transition baskets but we really defended well in the halfcourt.”

Turnovers again haunted the Dutch who committed 23 against full-court Luther pressure, with 10 coming in the first quarter.

“It’s hard to simulate their press, with the amount of length that they have, but after the first quarter, we were able to settle down,” Steinkamp said.

Freshmen guard Maci Gambell (Hedrick, Pekin HS) came off the bench to score 17 points while another freshman guard, Jenna Clark (Story City, Roland-Story HS), added 14 points, six rebounds and three steals.

“We’ve been looking for Maci to have that kind of game,” Steinkamp said. “We really like her all-around game. She can score at the rim, at the foul line and from the 3-point line. It was fun to see. We knew she had that in her.”

The Dutch held their own over the final three quarters.

“Once we solved their press, we were able to take their pressure defense and spread it out, drive, kick and get some open shots,” Steinkamp said.

Forward Payton Rogers (sophomore, Moravia) had a game-high 10 rebounds off the bench.

“She just played so hard,” Steinkamp said.

Forward Kendall Brown (junior, Moravia) added to her league-high blocked shots total with five more. She has a school-record 72 for the year and entered the game ranked eighth in the NCAA Division III with 2.95 per game.

Steinkamp also cited the floor game of point guard Cynthia Rangel (sophomore, San Antonio, Texas, William J. Brennan HS) against the press.

“She’s a nice calming influence out there,” he said.

Luther held a 39.4-34.0 percent shooting advantage from the field and 43-40 edge in rebounds.

Central makes its final road trip of the season Wednesday, facing Simpson College in a women’s-men’s doubleheader starting at 6 p.m. at Indianola. Simpson (17-6 overall, 9-5 conference) was off Saturday and defeated Central 61-48 in Pella Jan. 16. The Dutch close the 2018-19 campaign next Saturday against Loras College.

“We’ve got a big week with two JV games and two varsity games,” Steinkamp said. “We’ll try to continue to play hard and play at a high level. We were disappointed in how we played Wednesday (an 85-61 loss at Buena Vista) but I like the way we competed today. If we continue to compete down the stretch, if we play hard and defend, we’ll have a chance.”

Posted by on Feb 10 2019. Filed under College Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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