Tabor women win 3 games in full week of competition

Tabor College overcame a dismal start with solid play in the second half to post a 72-59 victory over Mid-America Christian at the Sterling Classic on Saturday.

The nationally ranked Bluejays came into the game as heavy favorites against the Evangels from Oklahoma City. Mid-America had lost to host Sterling by 29 points the night before.

Add to the mix that Mid-America was forced to play with a substitute coach provided by Sterling. Evangels coach Carol Fowkes was unable to participate because of a medical issue.

But you’d never guess Mid-America was undermanned once the game began, as the Evangels built a 21-9 lead over the first 8:39.

Over that stretch, Mid-America made 10 of its first 16 shots from the floor while Tabor struggled mightily. Emily Vogts scored on a drive to the basket to start the game, but Bluejays then missed their next 10 shots.

“We took them way too lightly,” coach Rusty Allen said afterward. “There’s just no question we didn’t prepare mentally to play. They literally played with a substitute coach. It just got into our heads and we just weren’t ready.”

Down by 12 with 11:21 left in the half, the Bluejays began a slow but steady ascent back to respectability. Six points from Vogts and 13-for-19 team free-throw shooting fueled a 19-3 run over the next eight minutes that pulled Tabor into a 28-24 lead.

But Mid-America battled back with an 8-3 run of its own to take a 33-31 lead into intermission.

Tabor built its comeback on 17-for-25 free-throw shooting, but the question remained whether the Bluejays could resuscitate their floor game after shooting 22 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes.

That question was still in doubt when Tabor started the second half with four straight misses. But a bucket in the paint by Donya Anderson at the 18:24 mark tied the game and started Tabor on an 11-for-17 streak that carried the Bluejays to their largest lead of the night at 56-41 with 8:13 to play.

The Evangels pulled to within 10 points at 61-51 with 3:54 to go, but an old-fashioned 3-point play by Kirsten Watson started a run of nine straight free throws-the last six by Erica Hemmert in the last 1:22-to carry Tabor to the 13-point win.

Allen said a couple of halftime adjustments made the difference in the game.

“One was just to concentrate better,” he said. “But we tried to position ourselves better defensively so they couldn’t get so much dribble penetration. We also tried to really run the court, and that paid off. We got a lot of fast-break baskets the second half.”

Hemmert finished as the most productive Bluejay on offense, scoring 19 points, including 11-for-15 shooting from the line. Also scoring in double figures were Vogts and Anderson with 16 and 12 points, respectively.

As a team, the Bluejays shot nearly 47 percent from the floor in the second half to improve to 34 percent for the game. Tabor made 26 of 34 free throws compared to 11 of 18 for Mid-America.

Tabor limited the Evangels to under 28 percent shooting (8-29) in the second half. For the game, they made just under 35 percent. Courtney Sorrels led all scorers 22 22 points.

Anderson complemented her scoring with a team-high 15 rebounds, including 12 on the defensive end. She also had eight steals-several in the first half that were critical to Tabor’s recovery.

Vogts also finished with a double-double, adding 12 rebounds to her scoring total-eight of which came on the offensive end.

As a team, Tabor out-rebounded the Evangels, 50-40.

Two days after completing her volleyball season at the Region IV tournament, Hillsboro native Jill Hein contributed more than 17 minutes and five points to the cause.

“I didn’t necessarily plan on going to her, but when the game was in limbo, and you believe you have a player who can make a difference-well, this is college basketball,” Allen said.

“She’s just a really good athlete and I have a lot of confidence in her. You could tell she was rusty, but she also did a lot of nice things.”

Northwestern Oklahoma State-Tabor defeated Northwestern Oklahoma State, 70-60, in its Sterling Classic debut on Friday afternoon.

Although it wasn’t particularly cold outside the Gleason Center, Coach Rusty Allen’s Bluejays had trouble warming up inside.

In fact, Tabor trailed 25-17 with 5:25 left in the half.

Allen said the deficit was due to a pair of factors: the cold shooting of his team and the talent of the Rangers.

“Their first five are all pretty good players,” Allen said. “They matched up with us well and they played hard.”

Tabor began to heat up with a field goal by Sarah Lyons and a pair of free throws by Katie Fast that cut the lead to four points with 4:04 remaining.

But NWOS answered with a 5-0 run to go back on top 30-21 with 2:55 left.

A field goal by Erica Hemmert and a pair of buckets from Stacie Herman, one a 3-point basket, cut the lead to 30-28 at intermission.

“We didn’t feel too badly being down by just two points at halftime,” Allen said. “Considering how ineffective our offense was at times, that wasn’t bad at all.”

Tabor’s momentum carried over into the second half when Herman nailed another 3-pointer a minute into the period. The basket gave Tabor a 33-32 lead that it would not surrender the rest of the afternoon.

In fact, Tabor reeled off 13 of the next 15 points to inflate the margin to 43-34 lead with the help of its full-court pressure defense.

“Our pressure really had a big effect on them,” Allen said. “And our bench really came into play. We were just a lot deeper than (NWOS) and our depth was of more quality than they had.”

That depth allowed Tabor to nurse a double-digit lead for the rest of the game on the way to the 70-60 win.

Herman led the Bluejays with 22 points, hitting nine of 16 shots, including four of seven from beyond the 3-point line.

Emily Vogts showed why she was recruited by NCAA Division I schools, recording a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

“Stacie is showing a lot of confidence in her game and in her shooting ability,” Allen said. “And Emily did a lot of nice things today as well.”

Hemmert and Lyons both added 12 points as Tabor connected on 28 of 61 (46 percent) from the field including six of 20 (30 percent) from behind the arc.

Tabor’s aggressive defense led to 26 turnovers that the Bluejays converted into 24 points.

Tabor committed 18 turnovers while stealing the ball 15 times.

“We didn’t play great, but it was a nice win,” Allen said. “We’ll just keep working to improve.”

With the victory, Tabor improved to 2-2 for the season.

Newman University- Tabor picked up its first win of the season Tuesday in Wichita with an 80-78 win over previously undefeated Newman University.

“It was a really big win for us, and in some ways we were fortunate to win,” coach Rusty Allen said. “But at the same time we did play well and so did Newman.”

The win didn’t come easily, though. Tabor fell behind by 12 points in the first half before bouncing back to take a 40-40 tie into intermission.

The Bluejays hit 43.8 percent in the opening half (14-32) but only one of seven (14.3 percent) from beyond the 3-point arc.

The second half began eerily like the first one when Newman opened a 12-point lead, 54-42, in the early minutes.

“Defense got us back into this game in both halves,” Allen said. “Sarah Lyons got the first start of her career in this game and she guarded her man right out of the game.

“Our perimeter defense just did an outstanding job.”

Down the stretch, the scoring burden fell on the shoulders of Stacie Herman and Erica Hemmert.

Herman finished with a career-high 33 points while Hemmert added 19.

“Stacie had a career night and shot the ball well,” Allen said. “She did everything from hit the 3-point shot to hit pull-up jumpers, get it all the way to the rim, post up and hit free throws.

“She got a lot of her shots because they have a tendency to play a lot of pressing style of defense and we beat them off the dribble a lot and their rotations wasn’t quite fast enough,” he added. “Stacie was the one left open quite often and she had the hot hand.”

Herman made 12 of 19 field goal attempts, including five of eight 3-pointers while going a perfect 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.

The Bluejays finished the game hitting 46.9 percent (29-64) from the field, including six of 17 (35.3 percent) from the 3-point line.

“We handled what they did defensively really well,” Allen said. “Newman is a good defensive team.”

Tabor’s defense held Newman to 41.5 percent (27-65) from the field and a frigid 25.9 percent (7-27) from beyond the 3-point arc.

Newman out-rebounded Tabor 45-38 as both Emily Vogts and Donya Anderson pulled down nine boards.

Coming-The Bluejays took a 3-2 record into Tuesday’s game against Baker University in Baldwin.

This weekend, Tabor travels to Seward, Neb., to participate in the Concordia University Cattle Classic. On Friday, the Bluejays take on Midland Lutheran College of Seward at 5 p.m. On Saturday, Tabor will take on the host team at 3 p.m.

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