Bluejay women improve to 13-1

<p>Morgan Ediger shoots for two against Sterling Wednesday. Ediger led all scorers with 30 points, 17 of which she scored in the fourth quarter, to propel Tabor to a 72-65 victory. Tabor won games over York, Sterling and Bethel last week to improve to 13-1 in KCAC play. Phyllis Richert PhotoOver the course of a three-game week, the Tabor College women’s basketball team earned three wins to improve to 13-1 in KCAC play, 18-3 overall.

York—Tabor used a balanced attack to earn a 65-52 victory Saturday.

No Bluejay scored in double figures in the contest. Morgan Ediger led the charge with nine points for the game, all scored from beyond the arc. She drained her first trey 1:39 into the game to help contribute to a 7-0 Bluejay burst, and Tabor led from start to finish. The Bluejays extended their lead to nine, 16-7, when Madison Schmelzer made a three, and Tabor led by that same margin at the end of the first quarter, 20-11.

The Spires outscored Tabor, 14-6 to start the second quarter to close the gap to 26-25 with 3:42 left in the half. Nicole Decker scored after that to ignite a 13-5 Bluejay effort that put Tabor in front by nine, 39-30, at halftime. Tristen Leiszler scored Tabor’s final five points of the half.

The Bluejays enjoyed a 10-2 run to start the third quarter, fueled by two three-pointers by Ediger, and Tabor took a 15-point lead into the final period, 53-38.

The Bluejays led by as many as 19 in their 13-point win.

Following Ediger as high scorers for Tabor were Tena Loewen and Sydney Webb, who each scored eight points.

Sterling—Tabor overcame a poor start to defeat the Warriors, 72-65, Wednesday.

When the Bluejays made one of their first six attempts, Sterling took an 11-3 lead, then built it to 18-5. The first quarter ended with Tabor trailing, 18-7. The Bluejays made four of 11 attempts from the field and turned the ball over seven times.

Play improved in the second quarter, as the Bluejays only turned it over twice and more evenly matched Sterling’s scoring. Sydney Webb drained a three-pointer with 5 seconds left in the half, for a 34-22 Warrior lead at halftime.

“We just didn’t come out with any energy, and when things didn’t go our way, we were kind of griping at each other,” coach Shawn Reed said. “I did not yell at them at halftime. People probably think I did, but I didn’t. I actually talked to them about, ‘We need to be who we are as people, and when things go tough, we need to encourage each other, love on each other, trust each other,’ because when we do those things, we’re a really good team.”

Things began to improve after halftime. Kaleigh Troxell ignited an 11-2 Bluejay run with a three-pointer to open the third quarter. Morgan Ediger followed with a trey, then Jurnee Reid scored in the paint. Taylor Deniston capped the run with a three to bring the Bluejays within 36-33. By the end of the quarter, Tabor had tied the game at 43.

Ediger caught fire with a three-pointer and scored Tabor’s first 12 points of the period to single-handedly contribute to a 12-3 run that put the Bluejays in front, 55-46 with 5:50 to play. Ediger scored 17 of her game-high 30 points in the fourth quarter, concluding her scoring for the night with her fifth three-pointer after Sterling had closed within 61-58. Reid scored off a turnover after that, and the closest the Warriors got was within five. In the end, Tabor secured a seven-point victory.

“I think they were more relaxed and they started to play better defense (in the second half),” Reed said. “We’ve told them, great offense doesn’t just come. It comes from putting in the effort on the defense and then shots will fall.”

Two Bluejays joined Ediger in double-digit scoring: Reid scored 11 points, and Tena Loewen, 10.

Bethel—Tabor rolled past the Threshers Monday, 81-63, in a game rescheduled from the Saturday before.

The Bluejays shot lights out in the second half, making 17 of 28 attempts from the field (61 percent) to finish at 53 percent for the game (32-for-60). Bethel made 41 percent (24-for-58).

Bethel hung with the Bluejays for the first quarter of play, taking the lead early, 10-7. Kaleigh Troxell drained a three-pointer to ignite an 11-4 Tabor burst, and by the time Troxell made her second trey, Tabor was in front, 18-12. The quarter ended with the Bluejays holding an 18-14 lead.

Morgan Ediger made a three-pointer to start second-quarter scoring and contributed six points to a 9-3 run that put Tabor in front by double figures, 27-17. By halftime, Ediger had 16 of her game-high 18 points, helping the Bluejays to a 39-30 advantage.

Tabor took control of the game with a 22-8 third-quarter effort. The Threshers made one field goal in the first 6:28, and Tabor took advantage, inflating its lead to 56-35. By the end of the period, Tabor led, 61-38. Coach Shawn Reed cleared his bench en route to the 23-point victory.

Troxell joined Ediger in double-digit scoring with 12 points.

Reed said the key to the second-half turnaround was getting the ball inside.

“In the first half, we shot way too many threes,” he said. “I told them, ‘We have to get interior touches.’ They were playing a zone. They were packing it in, but we still have to get interior touches.”

Coming—Tabor, who ranks 18th nationally, will play a highly-anticipated matchup at No. 16 Friends (13-0, 17-3) tonight at 6 p.m. The conference-leading Falcons handed the Bluejays their only KCAC loss in early December. Tabor will host Saint Mary (7-6, 8-11) Saturday at 5 p.m.

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