Huge Second Quarter Pushes WPU Past Graceland

Lamoni–Six players reached double figures as the William Penn women’s basketball team pulled out to a huge lead and held on down the stretch for an 87-74 Heart of America Athletic Conference win over Graceland Saturday.

After dropping their first three games of the year, the Statesmen (3-3, 3-2 Heart) have now won three in a row.

GU was on fire early with a trio of three-pointers to grab a 9-5 lead, but the visitors answered, including a shot by Maci Kuchta (Fr., Columbia, Mo., Biology) that gave the visitors the edge at 11-9. The Yellowjackets knotted the game again with a bucket the next trip down, but a free throw by Lakyla Moore (Jr., Norfolk, Neb.) at the 3:08 point put the Statesmen on top for good.

William Penn scored the final four points of the quarter for a 21-15 advantage as part of a 11-0 run that saw the team go up 11 at 26-15 in the first two minutes of the second stanza. Graceland called a timeout and came out of the stoppage with a bucket, but the Statesmen owned the next three-plus minutes with 13 unanswered points.

Courtesy of a 59.3%-32.3% shooting edge, the visitors entered the locker room up 49-24, headlined by a 28-9 margin in the second period. The squad also held a 7-4 margin in three-pointers and was 10-for-13 at the free-throw line, while the Yellowjackets misfired on their only two attempts. WPU committed only one turnover in the second stanza.

WPU continued to roll as Kuchta, who finished 15 points, knocked down a trifecta to make in 59-28 in favor of the visiting crew with 7:37 to go in the third. Unfortunately, GU warmed up in the middle of the quarter and got the score to 66-47 with 10 minutes left to play.

The hosts eventually trimmed William Penn’s lead to single digits at 73-64 with 4:26 left on the clock, but the Statesmen ended the drama with a 14-4 run to put the game on ice. Breanna Wendland (Jr., Richfield, Minn., Undecided) connected on five free throws during the run, helping her to finish with a game-high 19 points. The junior made all five of her field goals and missed just twice out of 11 trips to the charity stripe.

At game’s end, the Statesmen outshot the Yellowjackets 57.4%-44.4%, including a 44.0%-29.2% edge from beyond the arc. WPU was also much better at the line, going 75.9% (22-for-29) compared to 68.8% (11-for-16) for GU.

Both sides pulled down 25 rebounds, while William Penn committed two more turnovers than Graceland (18-16), leading to a 25-21 deficit in points off mistakes.

Brittany West (Sr., Shakopee, Minn., Sports Management) finished with 17 points in addition to a squad-best five rebounds. Caroline Hoppock (Jr., Olathe, Kan., Biology) made a team-high four three-pointers for 12 points, while Moore matched her with a dozen.

Bailey Reardon (So., River Falls, Wis., Elementary Education) also eclipsed double figures with 10 points. The Statesmen distributed the ball well with 19 total assists, led by six from Kuchta and five more from West.

“The first half was probably the best we have played all year,” Head Coach Steve Williamson said. “It was nice to have multiple players in double figures, but we need to learn how to play a complete game to be the team we are capable of being.”

Next Up: William Penn comes back to Oskaloosa for the first time this season next Wednesday, hosting Peru State in Heart action at 5:30 p.m.

Posted by on Nov 29 2020. 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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