Tabor women move to 5-2 with win over USA

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
The Tabor College women showed the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma the science of winning and the art of teamwork in a 63-50 victory Saturday afternoon in Hillsboro.

Perhaps showing the effects of a bountiful Thanksgiving dinner two days earlier, the first half was anything but a reason to give thanks.

Tabor managed a 26-18 halftime lead, due mainly to poor shooting by the Drovers and the unstoppable offense of Jill Hein.

“It’s got to be tough to play over a holiday,” coach Rusty Allen said. “But last week we played on Friday, Saturday and Monday, we had a light workout on Tuesday and no practice on Wednesday and Thursday.

“We were fortunate to be able to play this game at home. I believe the familiar surroundings and things like that really helped.”

Offensively, Hein torched the Drover defense for all three of her 3-point attempts on the way to 11 first-half points.

“Teams are going to have to guard Jill with a forward because most guards can’t stop her unless that guard has some uncanny ability to guard people,” Allen said. “When you give Jill space, you’re going to have trouble.

“She’s shot the 3-point shot particularly well this year, but she’s actually better at attacking the basket either off the dribble or posting people up,” he added. “Teams will have to figure out how to stop Jill and that will release the pressure on others.”

The Drovers hit just 23 percent from the field in the first half as the Bluejays built a lead as big as nine points.

But Allen said his defense wasn’t the primary cause for USA’s pathetic shooting exhibition.

“They just shot poorly,” he said. “I don’t think we guarded that well, but they were just missing shots.”

Tabor extended its lead to 14 points at the 17:37 mark when Nicole Ellis scored off a Stacie Herman assist for a 32-18 lead.

USA cut that lead to 42-35 eight minutes later before Erica Hemmert hit a 3-pointer to give Tabor breathing room.

For Hemmert, scoring has become more of a challenge in recent games.

“What’s going on is teams are putting their defensive emphasis on Erica so that gives other people a lot of space,” Allen said. “Our challenge is going to be to find out who needs to step up based on who the defense is focusing on.

“Erica just wants to win,” he added. “It doesn’t matter to her how much she scores, she just wants to help the team win.

“She figures out ways to be good because they’re taking things away from her,” Allen said. “She told me ‘I’ll keep battling’ and she will do that.”

USA cut the lead back to 10 at one point, but baskets by Ellis and Katie Fast coupled with a pair of Kelly Pavlik free throws stretched it back to 16 point. The game’s outcome was all but decided as the Bluejays finished with a 13-point win.

“This was a good win for us,” Allen said of his team’s fifth straight victory after a pair of season-opening losses. “This was a very athletic and physical team and their guards were tough off the dribble.”

Hein led the Tabor offensive attack with 19 points, followed by Hemmert with 12 and Donya Anderson with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Tabor hit 35 percent of its field-goal attempts, including 7-of-12 from 3-point range (58 percent).

USA was led by Katie Sterling’s 13 points. The Drovers shot 32 percent from the field but just 4-of-18 (22 percent) from 3-point land.

With the win, the Bluejays move to 5-2 for the season.

“I would think we’re ready for the KCAC even though we still have lots of things we can get better at,” Allen said. “We’ve played a really rough schedule and we’re 5-2, so I trust that has prepared us well.

“Last year we started 1-3 in conference play,” he added. “I don’t think we’ll be surprised by how physical the conference is like we’ve been in the past.”

Newman- Tabor defeated the Newman Jets last Monday in Wichita, 76-52.

The game which featured halves as different as night and day. Fortunately for Tabor, the daylight was brighter than the darkness.

Tabor shot just 28 percent in the opening 20 minutes, struggling to a 23-22 halftime lead.

“We didn’t do much right in the first half,” coach Rusty Allen said. “It was a really miserable performance.

“We were outplayed in every phase of the game-rebounding, ball handling and execution. We were ahead by one point at halftime, but we shouldn’t have been.”

Allen credited his teams defense for the slim lead.

“I guess we played good enough defense to stay in the game,” he said. “We didn’t play our best defense, but there’s still a certain amount of toughness by virtue of the way we play and our personnel.”

The second half though, was a different story.

Tabor burned the nylons with 68 percent shooting en route to a 53-point explosion.

“We moved better, spaced better, moved the ball better, got much better shots, ran the court well, and got a lot of fast break points,” Allen said. “Once they got down by about 10 points, they started to press and that led to them slowly being dismantled.”

Balance once again proved beneficial for Tabor College.

Five Bluejays scored in double figures, led by sophomore Donya Anderson who recorded a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

“Donya had a big game, particularly for someone who’s playing the center position and is only about 5-foot, 9-inches tall,” Allen said. “She just had a tremendous performance.”

Other Bluejays in double digits were Kelly Pavlik with 13, Shannon Kroeker 12 and Stacie Herman and Jill Hein with 10.

“Shannon hit everything in sight,” Allen said. “She scored more as a result of them having scouted us well.

“They face-guarded Erica (Hemmert) well, which led to more opportunities for Shannon and she capitalized on them. She played with a lot of confidence.”

Hemmert, because of the defensive attention, scored just nine points but chipped in eight assists.

“Newman really came after Erica, but she adjusted well,” Allen said. “I talked to her at halftime about adjusting her game and realizing what was happening and she started finding the open person.”

Tabor finished the game hitting 49 percent from the field compared to 26 percent for Newman.

“You can look at their shooting percentage and tell our defense did a decent job,” Allen said.

The Bluejays connected on 6-of-14 3-pointers (43 percent) versus Newman’s 2-of-11 (20 percent).

Both teams committed 17 turnovers.

“We told the players at halftime they needed to make a pretty drastic change or this game would end up being a loss,” Allen said. “We won’t be able to play like we did in the first half very often the remainder of the season and expect to come out on top.”

Coming-Tabor was scheduled to play Fort Hays State on Tuesday night before beginning KCAC play at Southwestern College on Thursday, Dec. 2, at Winfield.

TABOR WOMEN’S HOOPS

Tabor 63, USA 50

Nov. 27 at Hillsboro (Tabor: 5-2)

University of Science & arts (50): Brown 2-5 (1-4) 0-0 5, Russel 2-7 (1-3) 0-0 5, Merriweather 2-13 (0-6) 1-4 5, Sterling 6-18 (0-3) 1-1 13, Roberts 3-8 (0-0) 2-2 8, Keeble 2-2 (2-2) 0-0 6, Yager 0-3 (0-0) 1-2 1. Totals: 20-62 (4-18) 6-12 50.

Tabor (63): Pavlik 3-7 (0-0) 3-4 9, Herman 2-6 (0-1) 0-0 4, Kroeker 0-1 (0-0) 0-0 0, Hemmert 3-10 (2-4) 4-4 12, Hein 7-16 (5-7) 0-0 19, Fast 2-9 (0-0) 0-3 4, Ellis 2-7 (0-0) 0-0 4, Raber 0-2 (0-0) 0-0 0, Anderson 4-7 (0-0) 3-4 11. Totals: 23-65 (7-12) 10-15 63.

Halftime: Tabor 26, USA 18. Rebounds: Tabor 47 (Anderson 10), USA 35 (Sherman 11). Assists: USA 7 (Merriweather 4), Tabor 11 (Herman 4). Turnovers: USA 15 (Sterling 4), Tabor 11 (Hemmert 4). Total fouls: USA 14, Tabor 14 Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: None.

Tabor 76, Newman 52

Nov. 22 at Wichita (Tabor: 4-2)

Tabor (76): Pavlik 6-9 (1-2) 0-0 13, Herman 3-8 (0-2) 4-4 10, Kroeker 4-5 (2-3) 2-2 12, Hemmert 3-11 (1-4) 2-4 9, Hein 4-9 (2-3) 0-0 10, Fast 0-4 (0-0) 0-0 0, Ellis 2-4 (0-0) 1-2 5, Anderson 7-9 (0-0) 3-4 17. Totals: 30-64 29-59 (6-14) 12-26 76.

Newman (52): Olivas 3-12 (1-3) 0-0 7, Hughes 1-4 (1-2) 0-0 3, Westhoff 2-8 (0-2) 0-0 4, Koehn 0-8 (0-5) 3-4 3, Felts 1-1 (0-0) 0-0 2, S. Washburn 1-2 (0-0) 0-0 2, J. Washburn 3-9 (1-2) 3-4 10, Crowell 0-3 (0-2) 0-0 0, Smalley 1-4 (0-0) 2-2 4, Skinner 3-7 (0-0) 0-2 0, Gibson 0-1) 0-0) 0-0 0, Phelan 3-9 (1-4) 2-4 9. Totals: 18-68 (4-20) 12-16 52.

Halftime: Tabor 23, Newman 22. Rebounds: Tabor 35 (Anderson 12), Newman 33 (Skinner 7). Assists: Tabor 14 (Hemmert 8), Newman 10 (Hughes 4). Turnovers: Newman 17 (Olivas 4), Tabor 17 (Herman 4). Total fouls: Newman 15, Tabor 15. Fouled out: Felts (Newman). Technical fouls: None.

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