Paced by 11 fourth quarter half points from Reagan Phelan, Washburn women’s basketball erased a 10-point deficit in the third to nail down its third victory of season against a WBCA Top 25 opponent, with a 70-66 decision over No. 23 Pittsburg State at John Lance Arena. The result Saturday snapped an eight-game skid against the Gorillas (15-4, 7-3 MIAA) and marked Washburn’s first road win in Pittsburg since January 11, 2012, while climbing to 8-1 in the MIAA and 13-5 overall.
Washburn began the fourth period trailing 50-44 before trading three-point buckets for a 6-3 run during the opening 1:49 of the frame. The Gorillas then accounted for three of the game’s next five points, maintaining a narrow a 56-52 advantage.
With 6:25 remaining, Washburn rattled off a quick 5-0 spurt claiming a one-point lead with a three-ball from Phelan before Bentley knocked down the go-ahead jumper. The Ichabod advantage however was short-lived as Gorillas took a 59-57 lead with 4:30 to go.
The Ichabods then made the most of their next two possessions as Alexis McAfeeand Phelan drained back-to-back three-pointers pushing Washburn to a 63-59 lead with 3:35 left to play. With 35 seconds to go, the Gorillas tallied a late layup trimming the Washburn margin to 67-66.
McAfee however put the game ice as she went 3-for-4 from the line during the final 24 seconds to secure the victory.
In the fourth, Washburn was sharp from the field converting 9-of-11 chances including 5-of-5 from behind the arc. Phelan went 3-for-3 from deep during the frame, as she finished 7-for-12 from the field and an efficient 4-for-7 from three-point land, notching a game-high 18 points.
Washburn went into the halftime break trailing the Gorillas, 33-30, after a frantic opening frame that saw the Ichabods lead 19-18.
In the third, the Washburn offense struggled, converting on just 2-of-10 attempts during the opening five minutes. The trio of Annette Warner, Shelbe Piggie and Denesia Smith however provided a much needed spark in the latter half as the Ichabods closed the period on a slim 10-9 exchange, behind 5-of-9 shooting.
In addition to the score, the Ichabods paced Pitt State in paint points, 30-19, and second chance points 15-10, despite being out rebounded, 37-30. The Washburn also held a lopsided turnover margin as the defense forced the Gorillas to a season-high 21 turnovers, while committing only 11 turnovers.
Aside from Phelan, Murugarren also netted double-digit points as she finished with 10 and a rebound shy of a double-double with nine. Taylor Blue chipped with nine points, while McAfee, Bentley and Warner each had eight. Bentley also posted three assists, three blocks and three steals in the effort.
Washburn’s next contest will be at Lee Arena on Thursday, Jan. 31 when it hosts Lincoln. Tip-off is set fro 5:30 pm.