Resurgent Bluejay women upset OKWU in KCAC semifinals

The Tabor College women continued their resurrection post-season, coming from 10 points behind in the third quarter to knock off Okla­homa Wesleyan University, 60-50, on the Eagles’ home floor and earn a berth in the KCAC tournament championship game on Monday.

The home team came out confidently and jumped to a 9-4 lead within the first 3:30. By the end of the first quarter, the Eagles led 17-11.

OKWU pushed its lead to 20-11 at the 7:30 mark of the second quarter. But with Tabor playing hard on the defensive end and taking its time on the offensive end, OKWU managed only seven points the entire quarter.

Tabor, meanwhile, whittled the OKWU’s lead to two points by halftime with a 14-10 edge in the second quarter. Taylor Deniston’s back-to-back 2-pointer and 3-pointer in the final minute pulled her team to within 27-25.

OKWU turned up the heat at the start of the second half with a 10-2 run out of the gate. With Tabor trailing 37-27, Sammy Jo Peterson hit a three at 5:25, and Ediger did one on Tabor’s next possession. Deniston added another three at 2:06 and then 2-pointer in the final four seconds of the quarter to give the Bluejays a 44-41 lead at the final break.

The Eagles crowd was stunned. And now it was Tabor’s turn to push the edge coming out of the quarter break. Deniston hit a three 18 seconds in and Peterson added a traditional 3-point play at 8:49 for a 49-41 lead.

Oklahoma Wesleyan didn’t look like the first half team offensively, thanks to Tabor’s defensive effort. Amber Bonham and Ediger each nailed one more three down the stretch to secure the 10-point victory and a berth in the KCAC finals.

Deniston led Tabor with 17 points, Kristyn Wedel added 13 from her post position. Ediger added 12 and Peterson 10. OKWU’s Cheyenne Been led all scorers with 19 points.

As a team, Tabor made 21 of 42 shots from the floor (50 percent) and eight of 19 (42 percent) from behind the 3-point line. OKWU shot 44 percent (23-52) from the floor and six of 15 (40 percent) from behind the arc. The most astonishing numbers, however, came at the free-throw line. Tabor made 12 of 13 attempts while the Eagles never shot a single free throw the entire game.

The win gives Tabor a 17-13 record heading into Monday’s championship game, where they will face regular-season KCAC champion Friends University.