Tabor women beat two D-1 schools

Tonisha Dean (20) eyes the basket in the first half of Tabor?s 79-76 victory over Baker Saturday. Dean was fouled and completed the three-point play to give Tabor a 17-9 lead just under 5 minutes into the game. Dean contributed 14 points for the game. The Tabor College women opened the new year with a sweep at the Post Holiday Classic in Hillsboro Friday and Saturday. The Bluejays earned wins over a pair of NAIA-Division I opponents, Missouri Valley and Baker, to improve to 8-6 for the season.

?I am thrilled to get those two wins against those two opponents,? coach Shawn Reed said. ?We have played a tough, tough schedule and it?s paying off because now when we play teams like this, we?re like, ?This is like everybody we play,? and it?s not a mental challenge.

?Nothing surprises us or shocks us, and that?s why I do that because if you can get through it and not let it get you down, it?ll make you better. That?s what we?ve been preaching, and I think we?ve seen some of the fruit of that, hopefully not all of it, but some of the fruit of that the last two days.?

Baker?Having previously fallen to the Wildcats in overtime in the first game of the season, Tabor earned a 79-76 victory over Baker Saturday.

?That was a good win against a very good opponent,? coach Shawn Reed said. ?They?re a very good NAIA-Division I team, and we just had some people play really, really well tonight to enable us to do that.?

Reed singled out Nikki Lewis, Kaleigh Troxell, Tonisha Dean, Janelle Rust, Tena Loewen and Erin Maxwell.

?It was just a good team win,? Reed said.

The Bluejays opened with a shooting display from behind the arc. Tabor nailed three three-pointers?one each from Mallory Zuercher, Dean and Rust?in the first 2:14 to claim a 9-7 lead. After Baker tied the game at 9, the Bluejays enjoyed a 10-0 run for a double-digit advantage at the 13:38 mark.

But Baker would not go quietly, outscoring Tabor 11-1 over the next 6:12 to tie the game at 20.

The game remained close until back-to-back three-pointers by Kaleigh Troxell and Rust gave the Bluejays some separation at 29-22. Lewis scored the final eight points of the half, including a three-pointer at the buzzer, to give Tabor a 38-27 cushion.

But Baker narrowed Tabor?s lead to single digits 17 seconds into the second half, and eventually pulled to within 42-39 with 15:33 to play. The Wildcats later hit a three-pointer to draw within 52-51, then hit a second three-pointer to tie it, 54-54.

Baker took a 58-56 lead with 6:51 to play, but a three-point play by Troxell put Tabor back in front by one.

After the Wildcats hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 61, Tabor took control and never trailed again.

Rust ignited Tabor by scoring seven straight points to give the Bluejays a 70-61 lead with 2:48 left to play.

Zuercher made a three-pointer for a 73-63 Tabor lead, but the Wildcats answered with three three-point baskets in the final 1:13, including one at the buzzer, but Tabor held on for the win.

?We just made some big plays tonight,? Reed said. ?We got some big offensive rebounds both games, made some nice passes in some tense moments when you needed a bucket, and made some big threes at big times.

?It?s just exciting to see different people stepping up.?

Lewis led all scorers with 17 points. Rust added 16, Dean 14 and Troxell 10.

?I thought Nikki Lewis played about as well, during a weekend, as you can play,? Reed said. ?She?s a phenomenal player and plays well in big games. She had two just tremendous games for us this weekend.?

Missouri Valley? The Bluejays pulled off a 66-64 victory over NAIA-Division I opponent Missouri Valley Friday.

After falling behind early, the Bluejays rallied to take the lead. The teams engaged in a back-and-forth battle, with Missouri Valley holding a 38-37 edge at halftime.

The Vikings increased the lead to eight points in the second half, but Tabor battled back into the lead when Nikki Lewis drained a three-point basket with 10:25 to play.

The Vikings regained the lead with 4:31 to play. A free throw by Tonisha Dean gave Tabor a 64-62 lead with 1:15 to go.

Tena Loewen chipped in two free throws before the Vikings scored one final basket with 7 seconds left, but the game ended with the Tabor victory.

?When you play good opponents and you get down and you don?t fold, you find ways to get the job done,? coach Shawn Reed said.

Nikki Lewis led Tabor with 18 points and 10 assists. Dean added 10 points.

Coming?Tabor (3-1, 8-6) will host McPherson (3-1, 7-9) at 6 p.m. Thursday, then will travel to Ottawa (3-1, 7-7) for a 3 p.m. contest Saturday.

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