ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ANDREW OTTOSON
With four homecourt wins in eight days-two against conference opponents-the Tabor College women’s basketball team kept its grip on the top spot in the KCAC.
The Bluejays also ran their win streak to 14 games.
The long streak and the final scores-63-52 over Kansas Wesleyan, 75-67 over Southwestern, 63-50 over Concordia, and 65-62 over University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma-might give the impression that winning comes naturally to this team.
But Tabor’s recent opponents came into Hillsboro with an eye toward knocking off the conference-leading Bluejays.
Kansas Wesleyan-The Coyotes scored consistently in the early going on Friday, taking an eight-point lead in the first 4:31.
The visitors were aided by a sputtering Bluejay offense. It took the home team 11:03 to score its first points. At the 8:57 mark, when Emily Vogts nailed a free throw to the relief of the home fans, the Bluejays began cutting into the Coyote lead. A 5-0 spurt promptly cut the lead in half.
When Vogts put in a layup at 1:17, Tabor trailed 18-14. KW scored a 3-pointer in the final minute, but Tabor’s Erin Runge sank a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left to keep the game within arm’s reach at 21-16
The second halfopened with Andrea Robinson draining a 3-pointer off an assist from Donya Anderson. Tabor’s shots started finding the net more easily, and the Coyote lead melted quickly.
When Robinson connected from beyond the arc again at the 1:49 mark, the game was tied at 24. Then, 2:09 later, Anderson found Robinson open again, and the freshman guard gave Tabor its first lead of the night, 29-26, with 15:48 left in the game.
A defensive stop led to another open look for Robinson, and she scored again to double the lead to six points. The home team went on to push the lead to as much as 15 points, and KW never pulled closer than seven after that.
Robinson hit four straight free throws to close out the game and finished with 20 points-all in the second half.
Anderson reached double digits with 12 while Vogts led the team with 14 rebounds.
Southwestern-Tabor jumped to an early eight-point lead on their way to a 75-67 victory over the Moundbuilders on Thursday night.
Tabor got 10 first-half points from
Emily Vogts 10 of her team-high 23 points in the first half to help the Bluejays built an eight point about midway through.
Andrea Robinson gave the team its biggest lead of the night when she finished an end-to-end with a soft layup off the glass.
Southwestern put together an 11-4 run that culminated in a pair of 3-pointers that cut the Bluejays’ lead to one.
Tabor bounced back with an 11-3 run to push the lead back to eight with 3:17 to go.
Then Southwestern guard Kara Beal scored seven points during a 7-4 run that trimmed the lead back to three.
But Donya Anderson hit a jumper, Kirsten Watson set up another Robinson layup and Erin Runge drew two fouls in the final minutes of the first half.
Runge drained three free throws in the final 0:37 to put the finishing touches on Tabor’s third eight-point lead of the night.
But Beal and the Moundbuilders came out firing from long range in the second half. Southwestern outscored the Bluejays 17-6 in the first 4:50.
Beal and Ileana Perez drilled 3-pointers to give the visitors a 47-44 lead with 15:10 to go.
Anderson and Runge scored the next five points for Tabor, but Jenna Wilson and Melissa Greenburg combined to put Southwestern back on top, 52-51, with 9:13 left.
Tabor forward Nicole Ellis gave the home team the lead they would not relinquish with a layup off of a nice feed from Runge with 8:53 to play.
Despite a 6-0 run by Tabor following Ellis’s score, Southwestern kept firing. The Mound- builders made it a 1-point game four times, but Southwestern had no answer for Vogts down the stretch-except to foul.
With seven free throws made over the last 4:47, Vogts put Tabor in position to win the game.
As a team, Tabor shot 7-of-8 from the charity stripe in the final minute. When Stacie Herman made two free throws to make the score 75-67 nine seconds left, the Bluejays equalled their biggest lead of the game.
Concordia-Tabor put the finishing touches on the 2006 portion of the schedule with a 63-50 home win Dec. 30.
Concordia trailed by only a point at halftime.
Bluejay forwards Donya Anderson (8 points), Nicole Ellis (11 points) and Emily Vogts (14 points) slowly took over the game. In addition to its difficulty handling Tabor’s front line, Concordia barely slowed Tabor’s guards, who knifed to the basket for open looks throughout the second half.
Staci Herman, in her second game back in the lineup after five months, scored three times in the paint. Her aggressiveness drew several fouls, and she responded by making three of four free throws.
Freshman guard Andrea Robinson contributed five assists and five steals.
USAO-The Tabor women earned a 65-62 non-conference win over the University of Science and Arts-Oklahoma on Dec. 29.
After a strong shooting performance-and even stronger rebounding-Tabor led the Drovers 34-26 after the first half.
But the Bluejay offense slowed in the second half; the Drovers scored 36 points to put the game’s outcome in doubt until the end.
When USAO drained a 2-pointer to cut Tabor’s lead to 64-62, momentum seemed to be swinging toward the visitors.
But when the ball was inbounded to Donya Anderson, Drovers guard Je’antel Haynes was called for a reach-in foul with 19.6 seconds left in the game. Anderson sank the first shot of a one-and-one for a 65-62 Tabor lead. The Drovers then worked for an open look from long range. But the Bluejays defended the arc well-as they did throughout the game-and the Drovers mishandled the ball.
USAO kept possession, but was forced to call a timeout with less than a second to go. The inbounds pass set up a last-ditch lob that fell far the rim, keeping Bluejays’ win streak intact.
Returning to the court after missing 11 games with a knee injury, Staci Herman scored a pair of layups in the second half.
Andrea Robinson scored 14 for Tabor and Nicole Ellis added 10. Emily Vogts collected 13 rebounds.
Anderson had a monster game- her first triple-double of the season- with a team-high 16 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists.
Coming-The Bluejays will travel to Wichita Thursday for a 6 p.m. game against Friends University.
Tabor will return to Hillsboro Saturday for a 5 p.m. game against 5-1 Sterling College. Sterling is tied with Ottawa for second place in the KCAC.