The Washburn Ichabods closed the regular season on Saturday with a 78-68 victory over Missouri Western. Behind a trio of double-figure scorers Washburn improved to 19-9 on the year and 14-5 in conference play as it heads into next week’s MIAA Tournament as the four-seed.
Taylor Blue paced the Ichabod effort with a game-high 25 points behind 8-of-16 shooting with a career-best seven three-pointers. Nicole Murugarren followed with 17 points on 8-of-13 shooting, while Hunter Bentley chipped in 10. Blue and Murugarren also pulled down 10 rebounds each to finish with double-doubles.
Leading 15-10 after the first the Ichabods began to impose their will on the Griffons (13-15, 8-11 MIAA) in the second with a 12-3 midway through the period. Washburn was 5-for-8 from the field during the three-minute stretch with Murugarren leading the charge with four points helping the Ichabods to a 31-20 advantage.
Washburn eventually closed the half the on a 9-2 run as it took a commanding 40-22 lead into the break.
The Ichabods extended the margin to 49-30 midway through the third as tic-tac-toe passing found a wide open Murugarren for the layup before Blue buried a triple with 5:15 left to frame, stretching the Ichabod advantage to a game-high 22.
The Griffons however trimmed the margin to 17 as it closed the third period on an 11-6 run. Riding the momentum into the fourth, Missouri Western reduced the Ichabod advantage to single-digits, 61-52, as it put together an 11-3 run to open the frame.
Leading 70-62, Washburn slammed the door on the Griffons’ hopes of comeback as Alexis McAfee was 6-for-6 from the charity stripe during the final 60 seconds.
Offensively, the Ichabods were 28-of-53 from the field and 8-for-15 from behind the arc, while converting on 14-of-16 from the line. MWSU meanwhile was 25-for-64 shooting with 6-of-16 from deep. Washburn also controlled the glass as it outrebounded the Griffons, 38-26.
Washburn will return action Friday, March 8 as it faces fifth-seeded Emporia State in the MIAA Tournament quarterfinal slated for 6 pm at historic Municipal Auditorium.