Statesmen Close Successful Season in First Round of Nationals

William Penn University Athletics

William Penn University Athletics

by Wade Steinlalge

Billings, Mont.–The William Penn women’s basketball team had its higher-seeded opponent in trouble all night, but could not come up with enough plays down the stretch in a 55-49 first-round loss to Carroll (Mont.) at the NAIA Division I National Championships Thursday.

#6 seed WPU, which ends its year at 23-9, gave the third-seeded Saints (25-7) all they could handle, including leading for much of the game.

CC held a 37.5%-35.3% shooting edge and led 14-6 with 3:56 left in the first quarter. The navy and gold battled back, though, with six unanswered and eventually knotted the score at 19-19 after 10 minutes of play.

The season stats showed two strong defensive teams (both limited its opposition under 60 points per game), so the first quarter scoring was surprising. The defenses finally came to the forefront in the second stanza as WPU only scored nine points, while holding the Saints to five for a 28-24 William Penn halftime edge.

Another low-scoring period (13-11 in favor of Carroll) kept the Statesmen in the lead at 39-37 entering the last 10 minutes of play.

The advantage went back and forth in the early minutes of the fourth with William Penn holding its final edge at 47-46 with 4:52 remaining in regulation. Unfortunately, the Saints pulled away with nine points in a row to advance to Friday’s second round.

Kate Ylitalo (So., Maple Plain, Minn., Biology) topped her team with 17 points, including making three three-pointers. The Statesmen did not make a trifecta in the first half, but warmed up after intermission, going 4-for-8.

Vashti Nwagbaraocha (Jr., Milwaukee, Wis., Exercise Science) ran into foul trouble in the second half, but still nearly posted a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds. WPU held a 33-31 advantage in rebounding and outscored the Saints 10-8 in second-chance points.

RaChelle Parks (Jr., Grand Junction, Tenn.) had a nice effort off the bench with six points in just 10 minutes of action, while Sarah Hansen (Sr., Neponset, Ill., Psychology and Human Services) and Sham Troupe (Jr., St. Louis, Mo.) both tallied five points.

Jenna Santi (Jr., Oak Creek, Wis., Elementary Education) assisted on five baskets as well.

Unfortunately in the end, the team’s 19 turnovers (15 for Carroll) were too much to overcome as CC converted them into a 17-7 edge in points off turnovers.

“This is not the ending we wanted, but this group has a lot to be proud of; we accomplished a lot this year,” Head Coach Steve Williamson said. “We struggled shooting the ball all game, and when that happens you cannot turn the ball over and take away scoring opportunities.”

The loss ends the collegiate careers of seniors Hansen, JeAnn Hiraldo (Frisco, Texas, Industrial Technology), Tyra Johnson (Calumet City, Ill.), Brynesha Mosby (Belleville, Ill., Biology), Morgan Neeley (Flint, Mich., Exercise Science), and Idalis Riley (Minneapolis, Minn., Psychology and Human Services).

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Posted by on Mar 16 2018. 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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