February 18, 2013

Lady Statesmen miss title opportunity, fall 64-51 to Vikings

DES MOINES — The William Penn women’s basketball team had a chance to claim its first title in a quarter century Saturday, but poor shooting doomed the Lady Statesmen in a 64-51 loss to Grand View in Midwest Collegiate Conference play Saturday.

The Lady Statesmen (18-9, 9-3 MCC) were seeking their first conference crown since 1988, but with the setback they will have to settle for the No. 2 seed for next week’s MCC Tournament. William Penn will open the tourney Thursday by hosting AIB in the quarterfinals at 7 p.m. The squad swept the Eagles (5-22, 3-9 MCC) during the regular season, winning 91-68 in Des Moines on Jan. 9 and 94-68 in Oskaloosa on Feb. 6.

The Lady Statesmen claimed an early 6-2 lead, but nine unanswered gave Grand View (19-6, 10-2 MCC) a lead it would never relinquish. William Penn struggled mightily from the floor in the first 20 minutes to the tune of just 16.7 percent. The Vikings were much more successful at 44.8 percent and led 29-15 at intermission.

William Penn saw the deficit move to 16 before warming up with 10 unanswered to make the score 35-29 with 13:59 remaining. The Vikings went back up by double figures, but the Lady Statesmen had one more fight in them to get within seven at 51-44 with 7:26 left. The margin would never get closer than that, however, as Grand View’s 44.1 percent to 27.0 pecent shooting edge was too much to overcome.

Orielle Thomas was the lone William Penn player to reach double figures, posting her 13th double-double of the year with 12 points and 14 rebounds.

Sarah Martin was next with eight points, while Brittany May and Janay Pritchett both finished with six points.

William Penn committed five fewer turnovers than the Vikings (9-14), but the hosts were better at taking advantage with an 11-4 advantage in points off turnovers. The Lady Statesmen also held a 12-7 edge in free throws. Grand View outrebounded the Lady Statesmen 39-35.

“You cannot win a game missing as many point-blank shots as we did,” Lady Statesmen Head Coach Mike Brown said. “Shooting only 16 percent in the first half was too much to overcome. Now we just have to get ready to win three games next week.”

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