William Penn University
A major disadvantage at the free-throw line doomed the No. 23 William Penn women’s basketball team as it fell back to the Midwest Collegiate Conference pack with a 78-71 loss to Clarke Saturday.
The Lady Statesmen (15-8, 6-2 MCC), who had their six-game winning streak snapped, were outscored 27-5 at the line. Grand View (15-6, 7-2 MCC) held off St. Ambrose 57-56 to take a half-game lead over the nLady Statesmen at the top of the league standings.
William Penn outshot the Crusaders (5-18, 2-7 MCC) 45 percent to 40.4 percent, including a 50 percent to 29.6 percent edge in the first 20 minutes to help the visitors to a 38-34 halftime edge. Clarke stayed close by going perfect at the line (13-of-13), while the Lady Statesmen converted just three tries.
The free chances built exponentially for the hosts after intermission. The Crusaders scored the first five points of the second stanza to take their first advantage and never trailed again. Clarke went up by as much as 12 points before the navy and gold narrowed the deficit to six points with 2:27 left on the clock. William Penn could not overcome Clarke’s 27-of-32 showing at the charity stripe, however, as the Lady Statesmen finished just 5-of-9.
William Penn committed only two more turnovers (14-12) than the home squad, but the Crusaders turned that into a 23-10 margin in points off turnovers. The Lady Statesmen also fell short on the boards, 36-32. The Lady Statesmen fared well behind the arc, going 12-of-24 in the loss.
Janay Pritchett did everything in her power to keep William penn relevant after halftime, scoring 19 of her game-high 26 points in the second half. The sophomore was 11-of-17 from the field (3-of-4 3-PT) and also secured three steals.
She did not receive much help from her teammates as Katie Golomski was the only other player in double figures with 12 points.
Vanessa Kieres, with nine points, and Sarah Martin, with eight points, finished just shy of double digits.
Orielle Thomas was limited to three points, but impacted the contest with game highs in rebounds (10) and blocks (2). Sam Abens assisted on four baskets as well.
“We were not good at all today,” Penn coach Mike Brown said. “I think we thought because we got ranked this week that we could afford to take our foot off the gas. Free throw disparity did not help matters much either.”
William Penn returns to Oskaloosa Wednesday to host AIB in MCC action at 5:30 p.m.