1993 NCAA Div. III champions
PELLA—The Central College women’s basketball team scored its most points in a game since 2008 in a 95-78 victory over Blackburn (Ill.) Tuesday night at Pella.
The Dutch (2-0 overall) shot 49.3 percent from the field (34-69), 44.0 percent from behind the 3-point arc (11-25) and scored 50 points off the bench in scoring five less the century mark. Guard Kaitlin Stump (sophomore, Lancaster, Mo., Schuyler R-1 HS) played 38 minutes off the bench to lead all players, posting a team-high 21 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.
“Kaitlin did a tremendous job tonight,” coach Chelsea Petersen said. “She’s very court savvy. She had a fantastic all-around game.”
The Dutch last scored 95 points or more in a 98-80 win over Robert Morris-Springfield (Ill.) at Monmouth, Ill., Nov. 30, 2008.
“Shooting from behind the arc is not necessarily part of the strategy,” Petersen said. “Offensively we want to attack and find an open shot. If that shot is a 3-pointer, we’re going to take it. Certainly you want to look for closer looks first and higher percentage shots, but tonight we hit open shots from behind the arc.”
The Beavers (0-3 overall) built a seven-point lead through the first four minutes and 15 seconds of the game, but Central went on a 16-2 run over the next 3:42 to seize control. Blackburn pulled within three points to end the half trailing 44-41, but the Dutch used an 11-0 run midway through the second half to put the game out of reach. Central led by as much as 18 at the midway point of the second half, eventually winning its home opener by 17 points.
“It’s important to win at home,” said Petersen. “If you win your home games and compete on the road you position yourself to have a good season.”
Four players were in double figures for the Dutch. Guard Kenzie Vander Molen (junior, Pella) scored 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including 2-of-2 from behind the arc and 5-of-5 from the free throw line. She also added five assists. Guard Rachel Evans (junior, Fort Dodge) added 12 points and four steals, while forward Bry Pierce (junior, St. Clair, Mo.) chipped in 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting and five rebounds.
“We emphasize that we need to have at least three players in double digits to win,” said Petersen. “Tonight we had four, which is a good recipe for success.”
Petersen also recognized the efforts of guards Courtney Kelderman (senior, Pella), Mariah Swartzentruber (freshman, Kalona, Mid-Prairie HS) and Savanna Thornton (freshman, Bedford) and forward Jessi Butters (freshman, Kalona, Mid-Prairie HS). Kelderman entered the game early in the first half and connected on her first three 3-point attempts, the third putting the team up nine. Overall 13 players saw time for the Dutch, with 12 players scoring at least two points.
“With the new rule changes, we got into some early foul trouble, but our bench kept us in the game,” Petersen said. “Players were ready when their number was called and they delivered. The energy was great and it pulled us out of that early deficit.”
Despite the offensive output, Central struggled on the defensive end of the floor, committing 30 fouls and sending the Beavers to the line 43 times. Blackburn was only able to convert on 29 (67.4 percent).
“Our big takeaway from this game is to defend better,” Petersen said. “We need to be in better position, have quick feet and contest well. The second and third opportunities hurt us, as well. We need to limit opponents to one shot and transition to the other end of the floor.”
Petersen was appreciative of the fan support in her first home game as head coach.
“The crowd was great tonight,” said Petersen. “It was a tremendous start to the home season and it’s great to be 2-0.”
Central travels to Forest City Saturday for a 1 p.m. game at Waldorf (0-8 overall). Last season the Warriors edged the Dutch by one point in a 65-64 win at Pella.