Bluejay women win finale, avoid play-in round

The Tabor women’s basketball team found a way to win on the road Saturday night, securing a 61-46 victory over Saint Mary College in Leavenworth.

The game was in jeopardy during the first half. The Jays struggled to score throughout the first half, shooting only 6-31 (19 percent) from the field.

“We couldn’t get anything going offensively (in the first half),” said coach Chanda Rigby. “We also didn’t rebound very well, which hurt us.”

Tabor freshman Angela Kroeker played well in the first half, scoring all 11 of her points. She also added three steals.

One key to the Bluejays’ win was intensive defensive pressure. Tabor forced 32 Saint Mary turnovers, while committing only 14 themselves.

Tabor played well enough on defense to take a three-point halftime lead, 25-22.

To start the second half, Saint Mary, with the help of an enthusiastic crowd, launched an 8-0 run to take a five-point lead. The lead would be short lived, though.

Sophomore guard Carmen Hein led a charge that would give the Bluejays the lead for good, scoring 11 points over a four-minute span. At one point, she hit three 3-point baskets in a row. Her production helped fuel a 16-0 run that gave Tabor an 11-point advantage with 10:35 left in the game.

“In the first half I was a shaky, but in the second half I was feeling it a little,” Hein said.

Rigby was impressed with Hein’s performance.

“Carmen gave us a spark, because we were down when she started her 3-point binge,” Rigby said. “She really opened up a lot for us with her threes.”

Hein finished with 16 points, all in the second half, as well as six steals and four assists.

After the sudden swing, Tabor put the game away at the free-throw line. The Jays went 13-of-15 from the stripe in the second half to keep the Spires at bay.

With the win, the Bluejays finish the regular season with a 13-14 overall record and an 8-10 finish in the KCAC.

Tabor 66, Bethel 46

Tesha Werth scored only two points, but her defense and rebounding were huge factors in Tabor’s 66-47 win over Bethel College Thursday night in Hillsboro.

The Jays’ 5-6 point guard collected 10 steals and seven rebounds and helped shut out Ruth Harder, Bethel floor leader and Werth’s former high school teammate, to be the catalyst for one of Tabor’s best games of the season.

As a team, the Jays racked up 20 steals to only three for Bethel, and committed only 12 turnovers compared to 26 for the Threshers. Tabor also outrebounded Bethel, 35-31.

Helped by some easy baskets off their defense, the Jays shot 46 percent from the floor on the way to a 34-22 lead at intermission.

“Rebounds, fouls and turnovers dictate a lot in women’s basketball,” said coach Chanda Rigby. “When that went our way, we were in pretty good shape.”

Holly Ross’s basket on a drive to the hoop with 14:59 to go in the first half gave Tabor the lead for good, 7-6. The game remained close until the Jays pieced together a 7-0 run midway through to go up 22-12.

Bethel rallied in the opening minutes of the second half and cut the lead to five, 40-35.

Baskets by Rachel Speers and Ross stifled the rally and Tabor slowly widened the gap once more. When Melanie Kurtz scored off a feed from Carmen Hein, Tabor led by 15 points with 6:48 to play.

Bethel rallied one last time to cut the lead to 55-47 with 3:35 to go, but Tabor slammed the door with an 11-0 run to finish the game.

Freshman Angela Kroeker was Tabor’s offensive star with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the floor.

“Angela said she couldn’t be a post player, but we had to move her down there when we had injuries,” Rigby said. “She’s kind of been shy about it all year. But I saw her really post up on some people tonight and make some moves.”

Also scoring in double figures were Ross and Meaghan Coe with 12 points each.

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