Kelsea Hurley

Guard Kelsea Hurley had 22 points and five rebounds for Central Saturday

CEDAR RAPIDS — Kelsea Hurley (junior, Scottsdale, Ariz., Desert Mountain HS) poured in 22 points but the Central College women’s basketball team struggled down the stretch in a 70-57 loss to Westminster College (Mo.) Saturday at the Coe College Tournament.

It was a frustratingly familiar pattern for the Dutch (0-3), who fell behind early, rallied but couldn’t sustain it. Central was down 25-13 after the first quarter. A 14-point second-quarter deficit was whittled to 38-30 at intermission and a 10-1 burst to start the third period put the Dutch on top 40-39. But Westminster (2-1) quickly regained control and maintained it the rest of the way.

“They hit some threes early to get some momentum and we got down double-digits in the first quarter for the third straight game, so that was disappointing,” coach Joe Steinkamp said.

Central’s momentum was also slowed by the loss of freshman guard Alyana Akiona (Honolulu, Hawaii, Kalani HS), who left the game with an injury.

“She was having her best game,” Steinkamp said. “She had nine points and a couple of steals in the first half.”

Hurley hit three 3-pointers, had five rebounds and three assists.

“Kelsea got it going again offensively,” Steinkamp said. “She’s doing a good job of kind of taking what the defense gives her. She keeps scoring in so many different ways.”

Steinkamp also cited freshman post Allison Van Gorp (Pella, Pella Christian HS) who had eight points and a game-high 13 rebounds, along with three blocks.

“She was the bright spot with the rebounds but rebounding was probably the difference in the game,” Steinkamp said. “We held them to a pretty low shooting percentage the last three quarters but they got too many second-chance opportunities.”

Westminster corralled 23 offensive rebounds and held a 49-36 advantage overall.

Central shot 39.7% to Westminster’s 34.9% and was 8-of-29 from 3-point range.

The Dutch return to the road Tuesday for a 6 p.m. game at Fontbonne University (Mo.). Fontbonne is 1-2 after a 60-46 victory Saturday over Dominican University (Ill.).

Steinkamp is still excited about his young squad.

“It really is a good group,” he said. “They work really hard. They’ve come a long way in the last couple of weeks and we still feel very confident in them. They’re talented and hard-working and they’re a close-knit group. I think good things will happen for us eventually. We just have to continue to learn from each game and continue to strive to get better.”

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