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Streak ends as Central women’s basketball rally falls short

Women's basketball | Dec. 7, 2013

NEW ULM, MINN.—The Central College women’s basketball team rallied for its first lead with less than two minutes remaining in the game, but Martin Luther College (Minn.) scored seven of the final nine points and handed Central its first loss of the season 52-49 Saturday afternoon.

The Dutch (6-1 overall) took their first lead of the game at 47-45 on a layup by guard Kalli Richardson (junior, Blairsburg, Northeast Hamilton HS) with 1:58 remaining, but a 3-point attempt to tie the game missed its mark in the closing seconds and the Knights escaped with the win.

“We defended and rebounded well, but it was not enough,” coach Chelsea Petersen said. “The entire game comes down to our lack of offense. It’s a disappointing result."

Central played one of its best defensive games of the season, holding Martin Luther to 15-of-53 from the field (28.3 percent) and 4-of-16 from behind the arc (25.0 percent) and totaling 12 steals as a team.

The Knights averaged 77.7 points per game over their last three outings.

“It was a defensive battle,” Petersen said. “It came down to a final possession and Martin Luther was better in that moment. Our defense positioned us to win the game, but we did not perform well enough on the offensive end of the floor.”

The Dutch struggled offensively, scoring only 21 points in the first half, including a five-minute scoreless stretch. Central connected on only 2-of-19 attempts (10.5 percent) from behind the 3-point arc, shot 27.5 percent from the floor (14-of-51) and 63.3 percent from the free throw line (19-of-30).

“At the end of the day, we need to make plays,” said Petersen. “Today we didn’t do that and it slipped through our hands. We missed shots we made in the first five games this season, especially free throws and layups.

“We did not make enough shots to win.”

The Dutch averaged 72.5 points per game during the six-game winning streak.

Guard Rachel Evans (junior, Fort Dodge) led all players with 14 points on 3-of-7 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds, but fouled out with four minutes remaining in the game. Guard Kenzie Vander Molen (junior, Pella) was second among all players with 13 points on 3-of-7 shooting, while guard Emily Neff (freshman, Cedar Falls) hauled in a team-high nine rebounds.

Playing its third Iowa Conference opponent in five days, Martin Luther (3-4 overall) won for the second time. The Knights lost 88-74 at Buena Vista Tuesday, but won yesterday’s home game 82-75 over Wartburg.

The Dutch return home Wednesday for a bout with nearby William Penn University (6-5 overall) at 7 p.m. Last season the Statesmen visited Pella and notched a nine-point win (92-83) in the teams’ first meeting since Dec. 10, 2005. William Penn defeated Presentation (S.D.) 78-52 the same weekend Central bested the Saints 67-52.

Central College