1993 NCAA Div. III champions
PELLA—A 17-8 burst early in the second half gave the Central College women’s basketball team a 63-56 season-opening win Thursday night in Pella.
The Dutch trailed by as many as nine points in the first half, but cut the margin to 25-20 at intermission. Central came out pressuring in the second half and forced 15 Grinnell turnovers.
“Our defensive pressure and steals led us to victory tonight,” coach Mike Jacobsma said. “We had a refuse to lose attitude.”
Guard Kalli Richardson (sophomore, Blairsburg, Northeast Hamilton HS) and center Bry Pierce (sophomore, St. Clair, Mo.) each had a game-high 17 points.
“Those two sophomores had big games tonight,” Jacobsma said. “They really stepped up and made free throws when it counted at the end.”
Central knocked down 25-of-33 free throws in the second half, taking advantage of an early double bonus. Richardson downed 9-of-11 for the game while Pierce made 7-of-8.
Guard Rachel Evans (sophomore, Fort Dodge) had nine points and a team-high 10 rebounds. Richardson had six rebounds and three steals. Guard Alyssa Schwartz (senior, Titonka, WCLT HS) also had three steals.
Grinnell outshot Central 34.9 percent to 30.4 percent from the field and held the Dutch to 6.7 percent behind the arc.
“We only made one 3-pointer and still won,” Jacobsma said. “I’ll be excited when start making six, seven or eight a game.”
The Pioneers also won the rebound battle, 45-40.
“I felt like we limited Grinnell to one shot in the second half and got some critical defensive rebounds, but we still need to improve on the boards.”
The Dutch committed just 11 turnovers and finished with 12 steals.
Jacobsma was pleased with the improvement in the second half.
“Our composure was a lot better,” he said. “We were confident and had better timing. That’s the nice thing about playing two halves; you can put the first one behind you.”
Central travels to St. Bonifacius, Minn., Saturday, facing Crown College (Minn.) at 4 p.m.