The Coyotes jumped on top with a 2-pointer 30 seconds into the game and fought off two ties to carry that advantage through the final buzzer. Katie Fast tied the game both times: at 2-2 at 15:58 and at 4-4 at 14:51.
Tabor’s next score came 3:13 later, with the Bluejays trailing 14-4 after three straight 3-point baskets—one of which turned into a 4-point play when Emily Luckeroth was fouled during her follow-through at 13:19.
Tasia Johnson got the Bluejays going with a 3-pointer at 11:38, sparking a 10-2 run that narrowed the gap to 16-14 with 7:30 left in the first half.
Stacie Herman brought the Bluejays within a point by nailing a 3-point shot at 6:56, but Kansas Wesleyan scored four straight points to hold on to the lead.
Jenny Gaskell put together a 3-point play with 1:12 left, but Luckeroth hit her third triple of the half with 19 seconds left.
Kansas Wesleyan led 25-20 at the break and ramped its lead up to 12 points with seven unanswered points to start the second half.
The Coyotes led by 18 with 8:16 to go. Herman cut it to 50-39 with a 3-pointer with 1:50 left, but the Bluejays were unable to pull within a single-digit margin.
Herman led all scorers with 17 points without being awarded a free throw. Tabor as a team went 5-for-7 (71 percent) at the line but scored on just 16 of 58 (28 percent) field goal attempts.
The conference’s top team put together an 11-0 run in the opening minutes that proved too much for Tabor to overcome.
Sparked by back-to-back-to-back assists by Tasia Johnson, who scored four of her five points in the first half, the Bluejays cut it to six with 1:55 left in the period.
But a late 3-point shot by Sterling junior Ashley Kraft kept Tabor from carrying any of that momentum into halftime.
Down 27-18, Tabor could not stop Brittany Gasper, who scored all 10 points during a 10-4 run in the opening phase of the second half.
The Bluejays finally forced Gasper from the game at 11:37, when she picked up her fourth foul.
After setting up a field goal for Katie Fast, Johnson picked up her fourth personal at 8:36.
Following a trio of foul shots by Fast and Johnson, Katie Mount hit a 3-pointer with 1:20 to go, and Stacie Herman followed with a driving layup to cut it to 49-38.
But Sterling strung together five straight points at the foul line, and that was it.
Coming—Tabor (10-8) hosts Kansas Wesleyan (9-9) at 7 p.m. tonight in the quarterfinals of the KCAC Post-season Tournament. A Tabor win would pit the Bluejays against the victor of the Sterling quarterfinal in a semifinal contest at 2 p.m. Saturday. Barring an upset, this game would be played at Sterling (17-1).