Tabor women clip McPherson after falling to Bethany

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The Tabor College women?s basketball team emerged from its first week of conference play with an 81-80 win at McPherson to its credit, offsetting a 67-62 loss to Bethany.

Saturday?s win over McPherson gave first-year coach Shawn Winter his first conference win.


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Joanna Pyle drives the lane against Taylor Plowman of McPherson during Saturday?s 81-80 Bluejay victory. Tabor overcame a 36-29 halftime deficit to claim their first KCAC win. Andrew Ottoson / Free Press
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McPherson

Regulation ended in a 71-71 tie, and the Bluejays edged the Bulldogs by the slimmest of margins in overtime to claim a victory on the road.

Tabor trailed 36-39 at halftime and was down by a point when Kirsten Watson drained a 3-pointer for a 68-66 lead with 3:29 left in the second period.

After McPherson?s 6-foot-4 center Whitney Pegram fouled out trying to defend Erin Runge, McPherson re-claimed the lead with 1:23 to go.

Stacie Herman immediately re-tied it at 70-all with a jumper from the right elbow with 1:09 to go.

Becky Bratcher, McPherson?s starting center, scored one of two foul shots for a 71-70 lead with 56 seconds remaining.

Then, with 30 seconds left, Runge broke out a sharp post move to get back to the line. She missed the front end, but tied the game at 71-71 with her second shot.

Neither team was able to convert last-chance opportunities. Brittany Roth intercepted a McPherson inbounds lob near the scorers bench to send the game into the extra session.

Overtime began with Bratcher winning the tip from Katie Fast and scoring a 3-point play a moment later. Fast scored a jumper over Bratcher on Tabor?s first possession.

The Bluejays went to Addie Cole in the post on the next trip and came away with a 75-74 lead.

McPherson temporarily regained the upper hand during a flurry of quick scores and the Bulldogs pushed their advantage to 80-77 with 2:17 to play.

Herman made it 80-79 on Tabor?s next shot, and the Bluejay defense stopped McPherson twice in succession.

With 33 seconds left, Tabor went back to Runge in the post. Drawing a foul, Runge went to the line for her 10th and 11th foul shots of the night. Shaking off the earlier misses, she made both and finished 5 of 11 from the line.

McPherson went to April Woody with 18 seconds to go, and while her shot refused to fall, the carom found its way into Bratcher?s hands. Fast fouled out denying her an easy score, sending Bratcher to the line with 8 seconds left.

Bratcher missed both shots badly and finished 7 of 11 from the stripe. An offensive rebound by McPherson in the scramble underneath the basket put the ball back in Bratcher?s hands, but she overshot the rim on a short shot from a sharp angle as time expired.


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Bethany

The Tabor women led by as much as seven points in the first half, but were unable to hold off the Swedes at the end, dropping their conference opener 67-62.

Erin Runge started her first game after off-season surgery in a higher gear than most of her competition, scoring Tabor's first five points?all foul shots?and blocking a shot in the first 3:47 of action.

Tabor trailed by an 11-6 margin 4:30 into the game, but rallied back to knot it at 11.

Brittany Roth scored consecutive baskets during the 6-0 run, including the tying layup as the shot clock buzzer sounded. Runge set up the 11-11 score with a sparkling interior pass.

On the next trip, Joanna Pyle tied it at 13-all with a finely finished layup off a feed from Herman. Herman drilled a 3-pointer on Tabor's next possession, giving the Bluejays a lead that multiplied into a 35-28 halftime advantage. After the half, Bethany guards Roni Whitman, Rachelle Gaylord and Hope Stieben sparked a 7-0 run that tied the game 35-35 only 1:48 into the period.

Stieben made a free throw for a 40-35 lead at 17:14, and Tabor remained scoreless in the frame until Herman buried a 3-point shot assisted by Jordan Crosson at 14:56.

A 7-2 Bethany run ensued, and the Jays bounced back with a 7-0 run of their own. Tabor kept up the pressure, pulling within a point on a pair of Runge free throws at 9:01. Bethany scored the next five points, making it 52-46 with 7:40 to play.

Tabor again slashed the deficit to a single point, and it was Runge at the line again to make it 56-55 with 3:49 left.

Swede freshman winger Cathy Wade then came up with the biggest points of the night, burying consecutive 3-pointers with Runge in her face to make it 62-55, effectively putting the game out of reach with 2:58 to go.

Coming?Tabor (1-1 conference, 2-9 overall) faces Saint Mary (0-2, 3-5) at 6 p.m. Thursday in Hillsboro. The Bluejays host Friends (2-0, 9-1) at 5 p.m. Saturday.

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