PELLA — Central College came out sizzling from the 3-point stripe and rolled up its most lopsided women’s basketball league win in 16 years with a 92-52 thrashing of Nebraska Wesleyan University Monday.
Guard Kelsea Hurley (sophomore, Scottsdale, Ariz., Desert Mountain HS) knocked down three 3-pointers in the first 5 minutes and Central (4-1) bolted to a 28-10 lead after one quarter, stretching it to 53-23 at intermission.
The Dutch were 15-25 from long range for the night (60.0%) as they quickly erased any of coach Joe Steinkamp’s worries about the effects of the 19-day layoff since their last outing.
“I thought we got off to a really good start, shooting the ball well and really playing at the pace that we wanted to play,” he said. “Coming off of quarantine, our plan was to play a lot of people and try to really monitor minutes. It really worked out. We got off to a hot start and then when we subbed, we just kept shooting the ball well.”
The 15 3-point goals were only one shy of the single-game school record.
“Anytime you make 15 threes it’s a great accomplishment, but they were in-rhythm, open looks, too, so the type of shots we would expect to make,” Steinkamp said.
Hurley finished with 18 points and four assists, with six 3-point buckets.
“Kelsea got us off to a great start,” Steinkamp said. “She was able to get some good looks early and then I thought our players did a good job of finding her once she caught fire.”
Guard Maci Gambell (junior, Hedrick, Pekin HS) had 16 points and a team-high eight rebounds, guard Jenna Clark (junior, Story City, Roland-Story HS) added 11 points with five assists and forward Payton Rogers (senior, Moravia) had 10 points. The Dutch shot 54.8% from the field and outrebounded Nebraska Wesleyan 40-32.
It was Central’s largest margin of victory in a league game since an 80-32 rout of Cornell College in 2005 in what was then the Iowa Conference, now the American Rivers.
But the number Steinkamp was most excited about was Central’s 30 assists, four off the school mark established in 1982 and matched in 1991.
“I think we just played so unselfishly,” he said. “The ball kept moving. Even when people were rolling, it’s not like they were hunting their own shot, they were always moving the ball. We had good player movement as well. But more than anything, I think it really came from the tempo. We got the ball downcourt so quickly and they were in scramble mode.”
After just its second game in a month, Central is now looking at four games in eight days, heading Wednesday to defending league champion Wartburg College. The 11-1 Knights climbed to No. 4 in the D3hoops.com poll Monday.
“They’re still one of the best teams in the country and they’ve played a lot of games,” Steinkamp said. “We’re just excited for the challenge. We want to play good teams.”
Game time is 5:30 p.m. in Waverly.