OSKALOOSA—The William Penn women’s basketball team woke up just in time to record a 68-63 come-from-behind victory over #23 Culver-Stockton in Heart of America Athletic Conference action Wednesday.
#18 WPU (19-5, 15-4 Heart) trailed by eight points at 44-36 entering the fourth quarter, but erupted for 32 points, a season high for points in a quarter, in the final 10 minutes of play to get past the Wildcats (18-8, 14-6 Heart), ending their 10-game winning streak.
The navy and gold’s winning streak has now been extended to four games. The Statesmen have a much-needed open weekend coming up before hosting #8 and Heart-leading Central Methodist next Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
William Penn, which was outshot 44.0%-42.9% and outrebounded 33-29, sprinted out to an 8-2 advantage in the opening minutes. Unfortunately, Culver-Stockton responded to take a 12-11 edge into the second period.
The sides remained close for the first several minutes of the second quarter as the hosts actually recaptured the edge at 24-23. The Wildcats again had an answer, however, and scored nine of the last 10 points for a 32-25 halftime lead.
The visitors stayed in control throughout the third stanza, holding a multiple-score margin which ballooned to as much as 10 points. WPU responded in the third, though, trimming to the deficit to eight. At that point, the navy and gold had made just 30.6% of their shots and needed a complete 180-degree turnaround to really threaten the Wildcats.
That turnaround happened as the Statesmen went on an impressive 16-2 run, including the last bucket of the third quarter, to go up 50-46. Brittany West (Jr., Shakopee, Minn., Sports Management) knocked down a pair of three-pointers during the stretch, while Madisyn Rogan (Fr., Stevens Point, Wis., Applied Mathematics) connected on a trio of field goals. The freshman played amazingly off the bench, taking the reins as Brenda Pennington (Sr., Hammond, Ind., Psychology) was saddled with foul trouble.
During its winning streak, Culver-Stockton had been victorious in blowouts and close games, so it was ready for the fight, pulling to within one point twice.
Fortunately, the Statesmen kept chugging along, eventually making 10 of their 13 shots in the fourth. Up 61-59 inside of two minutes to go, five unanswered points put the game out of reach and William Penn avenged a 79-72 setback to C-SC last month in Canton, Mo.
A huge part of the victory can be credited to a tremendous effort at the free-throw line. After going just 5-for-10 in the first half, WPU missed only once in 13 attempts after intermission to finish a collective 17-for-23. The Wildcats, on the other hand, were 12-for-20 overall.
The victors also connected on two more trifectas (9-7, 42.9%-38.9%) and committed four fewer turnovers (13-17), which led to a 14-10 advantage in points off turnovers. Despite having two fewer offensive rebounds (9-11), the navy and gold were also able to tally a 9-8 margin in second-chance points.
Olivia Usher (Sr., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Mathematics) topped WPU with 16 points on 4-for-6 shooting (6-for-8 FT). Autumn Voigt (Sr., Clintonville, Wis., Business Management) succeeded in several areas, posting a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, while also managing two steals and two assists. The senior was 8-for-9 at the charity stripe.
Kate Ylitalo (Sr., Maple Plain, Minn., Biology) made two long balls en route to 10 points, while West did her one better with three 3-pointers for nine points off the bench.
Pennington re-entered at the point guard spot with around four minutes to go and closed out the game, finishing with eight points and three assists, while Rogan managed six points in just 12 minutes of work.
“We struggled for three quarters in about all facets, but the ladies kept battling and in the fourth quarter shots started falling and we made some big-time plays,” head coach Steve Williamson said. “This was a great team effort. We got big plays from Olivia Usher, while Kate Ylitalo and Brittany West knocked down some huge shots. Autumn Voigt played with great toughness, taking four charges, and Madisyn Rogan came off the bench and gave us a huge lift. It was so much fun to watch this team play the way we did in the fourth.”