1993 NCAA Div. III champions
PELLA — The home-court rims were not kind to the Central College women’s basketball squad as Coe College outshot the Dutch in a 61-44 Iowa Conference contest Wednesday.
Coach Chelsea Petersen’s young squad committed just seven turnovers while forcing 16 and coming up with 11 steals, but endured a nearly 5-minute scoring drought in the first half and shot a chilly 29.8 percent from the floor for the night. It was Central’s second-lowest scoring output of the season.
“I thought we just got down too much in the first half,” Petersen said. “Coe came out really aggressive and it took us 20 minutes to match that. You go into halftime of any game in the conference down double-digits, it’s tough to win.”
But guard Kenzie Vander Molen (junior, Pella) had her typical steady outing, leading all scorers with15 points while dishing out four assists to go with three steals.
“I challenged Kenzie at halftime to be more aggressive and she did a great job of getting to the rim,” Petersen said. “She was just solid all around.”
Forward Jessy Stika (senior, Cresco, Crestwood HS) had 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting and five rebounds.
“Jessy did some nice things,” Petersen said. “She did a good job from 15 feet in and did a nice job on defense as well.”
Guard Rachel Evans (junior, Fort Dodge) had a team-high eight rebounds but the Dutch (9-9 overall, 1-6 conference) were outrebounded 41-26.
Central generated a brief second-half flurry. After trailing 31-18 at the break and dropping to a 50-30 deficit at the 10-minute mark, the Dutch reeled off nine unanswered points and it was 50-39 with 6:32 left. But then Coe (10-8 overall, 5-2 conference) went on an 11-3 spree to settle the issue, retaking control 61-42 with 2:32 remaining.
Central has dropped six straight games but Petersen is impressed with her squad’s consistent effort.
“I think the players do a great job, whether we’re up five or down 10, of continuing to battle and continuing to compete,” she said. “Defensively it was good to hold Coe to 61 points. We did a good job of executing the defensive game plan. We pushed the ball pretty well and did a lot of other good things, but ultimately you’ve got to put the ball in the hoop.”
Central is back in action at P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium Saturday against conference leader Loras College (12-6 overall, 7-0 conference) at 2 p.m. in a women’s-men’s twinbill. The Duhawks were 89-75 winners at Wartburg Wednesday night and won their Jan. 18 meeting with Central at Dubuque, 71-63. Vander Molen scored a career-high 30 points in the loss. Both the men’s and women’s games will be broadcast by KRLS-FM (92.1). The broadcast can also be accessed through www.kniakrls.com.