The Tabor College women improved to 2-0 in KCAC play Saturday with a 68-49 win over McPherson on the Bluejays’ home court.
Tabor started slowly against the Bulldogs, who came in with a 4-2 season record, but managed to establish a 13-10 advantage by the end of the first quarter.
Tabor coach Shawn Reed credited McPherson’s aggressive defense for his team’s slow start.
“They came out really aggressively and were face-guarding a little bit, just trying to pressure people with the ball and without the ball,” he said.
“It just took us a little bit longer to get into a flow. But what I was proud of, our defensive intensity in the first half—outside of rebounding—was good.
“If you can play good defense, which is what our teams at Tabor have been built upon, then if your offense stalls a little bit or takes a while to get going, you’re still in the game.”
True to form, Tabor warmed up significantly with a 20-point second quarter to take a 33-24 lead into halftime. Morgan Ediger blazed the trail with 13 points.
The Bluejays took charge of the game with a 10-2 run toward the end of the third quarter for a 52-36 lead as the third quarter ended.
In the fourth quarter, a 13-2 run over a six-minute stretch gave the Bluejays their largest lead of the game at 65-42 with 2:03 to play.
Ediger led all scorers with 26 points on 9-for-14 shooting from the floor. Taylor Deniston added 13 points, Tristen Leiszler 9 and Kristin Wedel 6. As a team, Tabor outshot McPherson, 47 percent (24-51) to 21 percent (18-58).
“I thought we got good play from a lot of different people,” Reed said. “We were pretty assignment-solid and did a pretty good job—but we didn’t rebound. We kept them off the foul line in the first half, but the second half we fouled way too much.”
Southwestern—Tabor opened KCAC play Nov. 15 by taking on the Southwestern Moundbuilders at Winfield.
Tabor came into the game with a 2-2 record, while Southwestern entered at 0-4.
Although the Bluejays built an 18-point lead with just seven minutes left in the game, the Bluejays had to step up down the stretch to secure an 83-75 victory.
The game was close in the early going. A Morgan Ediger basket gave Tabor an early 8-4 lead, but Southwestern’s Jordyn Miller tied the game at 10, then added a free throw and basket to give Southwestern a 13-11 lead with 2:00 left. The scored was tied at 15 after one quarter.
Tabor ended the second quarter with a 16-5 run, including seven points from Taylor Deniston, to lead 35-27 at halftime
Southwestern played even with the Bluejays for much of the third quarter, but a late surge gave Tabor a 56-44 lead as the period ended.
A 3-point basket by Deniston gave Tabor its biggest lead of the night, 67-49, with 7:16 to play. But the Builders rallied, pulling to within 75-69 and giving the home crowd a reason to believe in a miracle comeback.
But six free throws by the Bluejays, plus an Ediger basket, proved to be enough to hold off the home team.
Ediger finished with 27 points with Deniston adding 20. Amber Bonham 12 and Kristyn Wedel 11. As a team, Tabor shot 53.4 percent (31-58) while Southwestern did about the same, making 31 of 59 shots for 52.5 percent.
COMING—Tabor was scheduled for a game Tuesday at York College (0-1 KCAC, 2-3 overall). The Bluejays will take a brief break before hosting Bethel College Nov. 29 with a 6 p.m. tip-off.