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Central women’s basketball team loses back-and-forth contest

Women's basketball | Dec. 14, 2013

ROCK ISLAND, ILL.—The Central College women’s basketball team was unable to hold its lead in a back-and-forth 56-53 nonconference loss at Augustana College (Ill.) Saturday afternoon.

The Dutch (7-2 overall) led the entire first half and change, but the Vikings (4-5 overall) notched their first lead (30-28) on a layup with 16:34 remaining in the second half. The game was back-and-forth in the closing minutes, but Central missed a game-tying 3-point attempt and Augustana converted on 3-of-4 free throws in the final 30 seconds for the win.

“It was a tough game,” coach Chelsea Petersen said. “Augustana is a good team and made good adjustments to seize momentum. We built an early lead and had the opportunity to build a bigger lead before the half, but Augustana cut into our lead instead. We played well, but not well enough.

“At the end of the day, we were in position to take control, but we didn’t rise to the occasion and Augustana took advantage.”

Both teams struggled to score, especially early on, as Central was 16-of-46 (34.8 percent) and the Vikings were 20-of-47 (42.6 percent). In the end, 20 Dutch turnovers leading to 19 Augustana points proved too costly. The Vikings’ leading scorer, Marissa Pezzopane (12 points), fouled out with two minutes remaining in the game, but Central was unable to capitalize.

“It was an absolute battle defensively,” said Petersen. “Augustana made some difficult and timely shots and we missed those same shots. As a team, we don’t have a large margin for error, so we need to do the little things better than our opponent. Tonight we didn’t.”

Central contended late into the game because of its performance on the glass and at the line. The Dutch outrebounded the Vikings 34-28, including 12 offensive rebounds leading to 10 second chance points. Central also converted on 19-of-23 free throw attempts (82.6 percent).

Guard Kaitlin Stump (sophomore, Lancaster, Mo., Schuyler R-1 HS) led all players with 14 points off the bench after her last-second 3-pointer found its mark. Guard Kenzie Vander Molen (junior, Pella) played a game-high 35 minutes and was the only other Dutch player in double digits with 12 points and added a game-high five assists. Guard Rachel Evans (junior, Fort Dodge) was active on the boards, hauling in a game-high nine rebounds and also snagged three steals.

“Kaitlin put together another solid game,” Petersen said. “She is a very smart, talented player and gives us a lift when she’s on the court. Rachel played great, particularly on the defensive end. She was all over the court and made some big plays.”

The Dutch finish the non-conference schedule and the calendar year with a pair of first meetings at San Juan, Puerto Rico. Central battles the No. 17-ranked Fairleigh Dickinson (N.J.) Devils (8-0 overall) Dec. 28 and host Sacred Heart (P.R.) Dec. 29.

Central College