The Washburn women’s basketball team trailed by three at the break, but offensive struggles in the third quarter proved costly for the Ichabods as they dropped the road contest on Thursday evening, 69-53, at Nebraska-Kearney. The Ichabods fall to 8-7 (2-4 MIAA) while the Lopers win their fourth-straight game and move up to 16-2 (5-2).
The first half was a close matchup with three lead changes and eight ties while neither team led by more than five points. The Lopers hit a layup with 22 seconds left in the opening quarter and carried a 15-10 lead into the second.
Mia Castaneda scored the first five points of the second quarter to even the score at 15-all. The teams exchanged scoring for the next five buckets before Washburn went on a 5-0 run to take the lead, 24-21. The Lopers answered with 9-1 burst over the course of two and a half minutes to reclaim the lead and go in front, 30-25. The Ichabods cut the deficit down to three, 31-28, by halftime after going 3-for-4 from the charity stripe.
Nebraska-Kearney started the second half on a 9-2 scoring run to quickly take a double-digit advantage. Alexis McAfee led all scorers with 12 points at the break, but foul trouble forced her to the sidelines in the middle of the third. The Lopers continued to pour in the points and held Washburn scoreless for the final 6:34 of the third period to outscore the visitors, 23-8, and push the lead to 54-36.
Hunter Bentley ended the scoring drought early in the fourth by converting on an old-fashioned three point play. The Ichabods continued to fight and scored six unanswered points to make the score 61-47 at the 3:35 mark. Reagan Phelan rattled off six points in 30 seconds for Washburn during the final 90 seconds, but the Lopers added one final three-pointer to finish with the 69-53 victory.
Nebraska-Kearney shot 47.2 percent (25-of-53) from the field and Washburn’s offense was a chilly 30.5 percent (18-of-59), while both teams went 6-for-21 from three point land. UNK edged WU on rebounds, 38-37, while the Lopers dominated in the paint, scoring 38 to the Ichabods’ 24.
McAfee and Castaneda each scored 12 points for the Ichabods. Phelan scored eight of her 11 points in the fourth quarter and grabbed six rebounds. Bentley grabbed three steals and contributed seven points.
The Lopers placed three players in double-figures, led by Elisea Backes with 16 points making 7-of-10 from the field.Klaire Kirsch chipped in 13 points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds.
The Ichabods will take on No. 13 Fort Hays State (14-2, 5-2 MIAA) on Saturday, Jan. 18, at 2 p.m. at Gross Memorial Coliseum in Hays, Kan. The Tigers defeated No. 15 Emporia State, 87-55, on Wednesday.