Strong Start Pushes WPU to Season Sweep of Indians

William Penn University Athletics

William Penn University Athletics

by Wade Steinlage

Lawrence, Kan.–The Statesmen women’s basketball team dominated the opening period Tuesday and then did enough over the final three quarters to hold on for a 62-59 non-conference victory over Haskell Indian Nations.

William Penn (5-2), which is off to its best seven-game start since 2009-2010 (also 5-2), won despite being outscored by 12 points over the final 30 minutes of action.

The visitors flew out of the gate Tuesday, leading 17-2 as the buzzer sounded on the opening stanza. The Indians were just a bit better at 15-14 in the next quarter, but WPU still held a commanding 31-17 edge at the midway point.

Unfortunately, Haskell Indian Nations (3-8) was eight points stronger in the third to trim the margin to 45-39 entering the last 10 minutes of competition. The home squad continued to chip away down the stretch. WPU never relinquished the advantage, though, to sweep HINU this year (also won at home last Tuesday).

The Statesmen outshot the Indians 39.6%-35.2%, but struggled behind the arc at 23.8%. The team was quite productive at the charity stripe, however, with a 78.9% clip (15-for-19).

Vashti Nwagbaraocha (Jr., Milwaukee, Wis., Exercise Science) topped William Penn with 22 points on 8-for-13 shooting. The junior, who was also 6-for-8 at the line, pulled down seven rebounds and stole five passes. The victors had 13 steals as part of the 24 turnovers that HINU committed (WPU had 23 ball control mistakes).

Sarah Hansen (Sr., Neponset, Ill., Psychology and Human Services) joined Nwagbaraocha in double figures with 10 points; she was 7-for-8 at the line.

Sham Troupe (Jr., St. Louis, Mo.) contributed six points with eight rebounds, while the Statesmen were narrowly outrebounded 34-32 by their hosts. Shamiah Oliver (Jr., Chicago, Ill., Education) also had six points with a pair of three-pointers.

The trio of Tyra Johnson (Jr., Calumet City, Ill., Undecided), JeAnn Hiraldo (Sr., Frisco, Texas, Industrial Technology), and Kate Ylitalo (So., Maple Plain, Minn., Biology) all finished with five points, while Jenna Santi (Jr., Oak Creek, Wis., Elementary Education) ended up with a team-high five assists.

“We need to learn how to play hard and smart for a full 40 minutes,” Head Coach Steve Williamson said. “We got off to a great start, but then played average basketball the last three quarters. Fortunately, we still found a way to win in the end.”

Next Up: William Penn travels to Sioux Center Friday to face Dordt at 2 p.m. as part of the Dordt Classic.

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