Defensive Effort Leads William Penn to Heart-Opening Win

Oskaloosa–It was not textbook, but it was a win nonetheless as the Statesmen women’s basketball team held off Benedictine 54-45 in its Heart of America Athletic Conference opener Saturday.

#25 WPU (3-1, 1-0 Heart), which had not played in 10 days, limited the previously-unbeaten Ravens (5-1, 0-1 Heart) to just 25.0% from the field. BC combined for only 15 total points in the second and third periods.

The sides exchanged leads a few times in the opening minutes, but a three-pointer by Makenzie Pezley (Sr., Keokuk, Iowa, Elementary Education) gave her squad the edge for good at 10-9. The hosts led 14-12 after the first stanza, and courtesy of holding the Ravens to five second-quarter points, grew the lead to 11 at 26-15 before settling for a 26-17 halftime margin.

William Penn, which shot 46.2% from the field, continued to apply the defensive pressure, staying very much in control. The navy and gold advantage grew to as much as 16 (46-30) with 7:17 to go in regulation on a trifecta from Kate Ylitalo (Sr., Maple Plain, Minn., Biology), but the visitors refused to go away. Benedictine scored 13 of the next 15 points to cut the margin to five with 1:53 still on the clock, but fortunately the Statesmen’s resolve stiffened and they held on for the victory.

In the early days of WPU’s venture into the Heart, BC owned the head-to-heard series by winning four of the first five matchups. The navy and gold have since dominated the series, however, with three consecutive victories.

While it shot much better than the Ravens, William Penn committed seven more turnovers (13 compared to 20) and ended up with 17 fewer field-goal tries (39 compared to 56 for BC). The Statesmen were slightly better on the glass with a 36-31 edge in rebounding, but Benedictine pulled down 15 offensive boards as it amassed numerous more shot opportunities.

At game’s end, WPU was victorious despite coming up short in points off turnovers (21-7) and second-chance points (8-2).

Brenda Pennington (Sr., Hammond, Ind., Psychology) and Autumn Voigt (Sr., Clintonville, Wis., Business Management) each tallied a squad-best 12 points. Pennington also dished out five assists Saturday.

Ylitalo knocked down three long balls en route to nine points (she also led the team with seven rebounds), while Olivia Usher (Sr., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Mathematics) managed eight points with a team-best three steals. Pezley contributed six points as well to guide the team’s non-starters.

WPU was also more effective from deep (47.1%-21.9%) and from the line (71.4%-58.8%).

“There is no question our defense won us the game,” Head Coach Steve Williamson said. “We moved really well and did a great job contesting shots. Our offense was not very good, however; we had too many turnovers and we were just not crisp running plays. I am very happy with our effort on the defensive end.”

Next Up: William Penn travels to Olathe, Kan. next Wednesday to face #14 MidAmerica Nazarene in Heart action at 5:30 p.m.

Posted by on Nov 17 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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