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Sluggish start thwarts Central women’s basketball comeback

Women's basketball | Feb. 5, 2014

INDIANOLA—The Central College women’s basketball team battled back after a sluggish start, but it was not enough as Simpson College held on for a 62-49 Iowa Conference win Wednesday night.

The Storm (12-8 overall, 7-2 conference) held the Dutch (9-11 overall, 1-8 conference) scoreless for the opening 5:58, building an 11-point lead, before guard Katie Sunderman (sophomore, Pella) knocked down a pair of free throws. Guard Courtney Kelderman (senior, Pella) scored Central’s first field goal of the game nearly three minutes later.

“We weren’t aggressive enough attacking the basket in the first half and we struggled to shoot the ball,” coach Chelsea Petersen said. “We didn’t execute the way we need to and we were in foul trouble early. It was too much to overcome.”

The Dutch shot 4-of-24 (16.7 percent) from the field in the opening frame, posting their lowest single-half point total (12) of the season.

Central picked up the pace in the closing period, doubling its first-half point total in less than eight minutes. The Dutch pushed their shooting percentage to 38.5 (10-of-26), outscoring the Storm 37-35 over the final 20 minutes. But Central’s 21 turnovers and 25-point deficit proved too costly.

“We played a lot better in the second half, but the slow start dug too deep of a hole,” Petersen said. “We’re good defensively, but we need to take care of the ball and find ways to score.”

Kelderman scored 10 of her team-high 13 points in the second period on 3-of-8 shooting from behind the 3-point arc, while backcourt mate Kenzie Vander Molen (junior, Pella) scored all 11 of her points in the second, converting on all eight free throw attempts. Kelderman added five rebounds and four assists and Vander Molen chipped in seven boards and two dimes.

“Kenzie and Courtney demonstrated great poise,” said Petersen. “Courtney almost brought us back when her shots started falling and Kenzie showed a lot of heart to play 40 minutes while still controlling the pace late in the game. They showed great leadership.”

The bench was a bright spot for the Dutch. Foul trouble forced Coach Petersen to play more players early, but she said it may have kept Central in the game. Guard Abbie Agan (freshman, New Sharon, North Mahaska HS) netted six points in 12 minutes and was the team’s leading scorer at the half.

“The players who came in off the bench did a great job,” Petersen said. “Abbie drove to the rim and drew a lot of contact. She was the spark we needed.

“But in the end we came up short.”

Simpson’s Morgan Terpstra and Morgan Mauro led all players with 15 points apiece. Terpstra also hauled in a game-high eight rebounds.

Central makes its return trip to Coe College (11-9 overall, 6-3 conference) Saturday. The Kohawks, who knocked off Buena Vista 97-92 Wednesday night, defeated the Dutch 61-44 in this season’s first meeting last Wednesday at Pella.

Central College