Ottawa—On a night when neither team shot the ball incredibly well, Tabor earned a 49-40 victory thanks to a lock-down defensive effort.
“It was a defensive game,” coach Shawn Reed said. “We played the best defense and rebounded as well as we have all year, which was good because our defense has not been good and our rebounding has been poor at best.”
The Bluejays made just four of their first 15 attempts from the field and held a narrow, 13-12, lead at the end of the first quarter. Kaleigh Troxell led the effort with eight points, including two three-pointers.
Troxell made her third three—her 11th and final points of the game—to extend Tabor’s lead to 22-16 with 3:02 left in the half. Morgan Ediger scored twice for a double-digit Tabor lead, which Ottawa narrowed to 26-18 at halftime.
The Bluejays struggled in the third quarter, making just one free-throw and one field goal the duration of the period. To be fair, neither team shot well, but Ottawa scored eight to close the gap to 29-26 heading into the final quarter.
A back-and-forth battle ensued to start the fourth quarter. The turning point came when Ottawa was penalized with a technical foul with Tabor leading 39-37 with 3:59 to play. Amber Bonham made a pair of free-throws then drained a three-point basket a minute later. By the time Taylor Deniston scored with 1:52 to play, Tabor’s lead had grown to 46-37, and the Bluejays went on to win by that same margin.
Deniston scored all 11 of her points in the fourth quarter to share top scoring honors with Troxell. Ediger grabbed nine rebounds to go with her five points. Tabor shot 32 percent from the field (17-for-54).
McPherson—Tabor earned a narrow, 66-64 victory over the Bulldogs, Thursday.
The Bluejays shot a solid 51 percent from the field for the game (25-for-49), including 47 percent from three (8-for-17). However, McPherson held the advantage on the boards, outrebounding Tabor, 44-25.
The Bluejays scored four points in the first six minutes of play, then Amber Bonham and Nicole Decker contributed to a 6-0 run to put Tabor in front, 10-7. Tabor maintained a narrow, 10-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Bluejays extended their margin in the second quarter, taking a double-digit, 27-16 lead when Morgan Ediger scored at the 3:53 mark. At halftime, Tabor led, 29-22.
However, when Tabor missed its first seven attempts from the field, McPherson took advantage with a 14-3 run to jump in front, 36-32. Tabor made three free-throws during that stretch.
Bonham broke the ice with a three-pointer at the 3:42 mark, and Tristen Leiszler gave Tabor the lead back, 40-38, with a trey with 2:27 left in the period. Tabor led by that same margin, 48-46, at the final break.
Each team scored 18 in the fourth quarter. Tabor trailed by two, 53-51, with 6:30 to play, but Webber drained a three-pointer to ignite a 7-2 run that gave the Bluejays the lead for good. Webber scored five of Tabor’s final eight points, including her second three with 2:11 to play. Taylor Deniston made three of four free-throws down the stretch to solidify the win.
Webber led the Bluejays with 12 points. Bonham scored 10.
Coming—Tabor, who ranks 11th nationally, was scheduled to host Southwestern (4-3, 8-5) Tuesday. The Bluejays will play an exhibition game at Fort Hays State today at 5:30 p.m. in their final pre-holiday appearance. Tabor will resume action in the holiday classic Friday, Dec. 30 when Johnson & Wales travels to Hillsboro for a 6 p.m. game. The Bluejays will host 14th-ranked Hastings Saturday, Dec. 31 for a 5 p.m. game.