Pennington, Nwagbaraocha Lead Statesmen to Win Over Evangel

Brenda Pennington was the leading scorer for the Statesmen tallying 18 points but that not was all she did. The junior also added six rebounds, six steals, and dished out five assists in the win.

Brenda Pennington was the leading scorer for the Statesmen tallying 18 points but that not was all she did. The junior also added six rebounds, six steals, and dished out five assists in the win.

by Wade Steinlage

Oskaloosa–The Statesmen women’s basketball team overcame a first-half deficit to continue their strong start to Heart of America Athletic Conference action with a 61-53 win over Evangel on Saturday.

WPU (5-0, 2-0 Heart) remained unbeaten by outshooting the Crusaders (5-1, 0-1 Heart) 44%-30.4% while despite getting outrebounded 41-36 and losing the turnover battle 21-18. The ladies made up for it by getting to the free-throw line 15 times and converting on 11 of those 15 attempts. The visitors on the other hand, were only able to get to the charity stripe four times and sunk three of four attempts.

The navy and gold began the contest going opening up a five-point lead on two different occasions in the first quarter, but the Crusaders would not back down and took advantage of the Statesmen’s seven turnovers to take the lead. Despite Vashti Nwagbaraocha’s (Sr., Milwaukee Wis., Exercise Science) early seven points, the Crusaders led William Penn 17-15.

The Crusaders would continue to lead the Statesmen until the 2:53 mark in the second when Brenda Pennington (Jr., Hammond, Ind., Psychology) hit a three to take a 24-22 advantage. Those last minutes of the second would both back and forth as the Statesmen would go on to edge Evangel in the quarter, but the visitors would hang on to a one-point lead 27-26.

William Penn would start to find their groove in the second half and in the third quarter opened up as large as a seven-point lead, the largest for either team, but the inability to take care of the basketball came back to bite them as Evangel hit consecutive shots from beyond the arc to regain the lead, 39-38.

The fourth has become the Statesmen’s favorite quarter so far this season. The ladies have outscored their opponents 102-51 in the quarter. The 52-point differential is the largest out of the four quarters this season. This continued to be the case on Saturday with William Penn outscoring Evangel 23-14 in the stanza to take the 61-53 victory. Pennington had six points in the quarter.

Pennington was the leading scorer for the Statesmen tallying 18 points but that not was all she did. The junior also added six rebounds, six steals, and dished out five assists in the win. Nwagbaraocha also had a complete game putting up a double-double with 17 points and 13 boards while adding five blocks to her line.

Kate Ylitalo (So., Maple Plain, Minn., Biology) also reached double-figures producing 12 points while Makenzie Pezley (So., Keokuk, Iowa) poured in nine points going 3-5 beyond the arc. Jenna Santi (Sr., Oak Creek, Wis., Sports Management) did not scratch in the point column until the fourth but was instrumental down the stretch hitting a couple of clutch shots to give her five points on the day.

“We were able to grind out a win.” Head Coach Steve Williamson said. “We played well at times but we have to learn to be more consistent. Made big plays when we needed to but unfortunately did not play a complete game.”

Next Up: William Penn will hit the road Tuesday and head to Marshall, Missouri to take on the Missouri Valley Vikings in Heart action at 5:30 p.m.

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