ORIGINALLY WRITTEN AO
The early-morning start may have contributed to a choppy game, but the Tabor College women’s basketball team will wake up on Thursday with a 46-41 first-round win to their credit.
“It was a defensive battle. We got pressure on their ball handlers and it wore on them. I’m really proud of our guards,” head coach Rusty Allen said.
Emily Vogts got the Bluejays out of the gate in a flash when she caught a pass in the middle of the lane and drilled an uncontested 2-pointer only 18 seconds after she won the opening tipoff.
But Cardinal Stritch bounced back with a 3-pointer at 18:24 and the teams combined to miss six straight shots.
Stacie Herman tied the game with a foul shot at 16:40, and the Wolves made it 5-3 at 15:20.
Cardinal Stritch pushed their lead to 11-5 over the next 7:52. With 4:12 to go, Shamiah Reid made it 15-9 and Tabor did not cross into double digits until 2:54 remained.
Vogts made it 17-11 and sparked an 8-2. Vogts buried two free throws and tied the game at 17 with 35 seconds left before halftime.
“Leadership was important…our seniors kept us from getting distracted…Nicole (Ellis), Emily and Donya (Anderson) kept us matched up and took charge,” Allen said. “Kirsten (Watson) and Stacie (Herman) contributed to that, but our seniors have experienced this several times before. They had the right things to say…that’s what seniors are supposed to do, and they did it well.”
With 12 seconds to go, Megan Shirey made it 19-17, Wolves, at halftime.
Cardinal Stritch opened up a 23-18 lead 1:15 into the second half, but a 15-4 run in Tabor’s favor over the next 10:42 proved to be the difference in the game.
Andrea Robinson gave the Bluejays a 35-29 lead with a 3-point swisher from the top of the arc with 8:03 to go.
Three straight fouls were called against Tabor and the Wolves bounced back with 7-2 run, but Vogts put a stop to that with a pair of foul shots at 3:23.
“They had some success on the offensive glass during their rally,” Allen said. “They missed some free throws…but we were able to stop their run.”
Tabor outscored Cardinal Stritch 5-3 in the final 1:30 and secured a spot in the second round game to be played on Friday at noon.
Vogts finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds in a double-double effort. “My goodness,” Allen said. “She had a huge game…she got to the basket and made all her free throws. She had a great game.”
“On top of that, the thing that really helped us was the way she guarded (Megan) Shirey,” he added.
Erin Runge also came down with 10 rebounds. Ellis added nine points and Herman added eight in the win.
The Bluejays will meet the winner of Wednesday’s contest between top-seeded Indiana Wesleyan and No. 8 seed Saint Joseph.