Ottawa?Tabor claimed a 31-27 halftime lead, but Braves senior guard Marie Goyette brought 21 points in 14 minutes off of the bench after the break to lift her team to 5-3 in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference.
?We knew they had dangerous players off the bench that could really shoot the ball,? Winter said. ?Our problem in the second half is that we didn’t identify those people and we let them have too many open looks.?
Kirsten Watson, Andrea Robinson and Brittany Roth combined to score 10 straight points, turning a 12-8 deficit into an 18-12 lead midway through the first half.
Ottawa bounced back to take a 27-26 lead on a 3-pointer by Maggie Hasenkamp with 2:03 to go, but Robinson nailed a 3-point reply on Tabor?s possession.
Short-range baskets by Chelsea Malone and Gina Hullet spanned the intermission, but Goyette dominated the next four minutes. Her spree: a 2-pointer, an assist on a layup, a 3-pointer, a free throw, and a 3-pointer for a 38-37 Ottawa lead.
A Chelsea Malone 2-pointer swung the lead back to the Bluejays, but Ottawa answered with Paige Gibson?s 3-pointer off Goyette?s assist.
After an Ottawa timeout, Watson answered with three free throws following a foul drawn while shooting from the arc.
The Braves took the lead for good with help from a turnover, scoring back-to-back baskets 16 seconds apart.
Hasenkamp scored three straight 3-pointers, and the Bluejays kept pace with a trey and a layup by Robinson, a layup by Malone, and a 2-pointer by Gina Hullet.
After a Watson layup with 6:33 to go, Tabor trailed by three.
Goyette doubled the deficit to six with a 3-pointer set up by Hasenkamp.
Watson and Robinson scored consecutively for Tabor, cutting it to 59-58, but Goyette connected on a 2-pointer, a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws to up the Braves lead to five with 3:22 left.
Watson?s 3-pointer at 2:20 cut it to 66-64, but Ottawa?s free throw shooting smote Tabor?s final charge.
Goyette went 7-for-8 from the field in the second half, including 4-for-4 from 3-point range, and hit three of four free throws.
Ottawa made an otherworldly 89 percent of its second half 3-point shots. Hasenkamp finished with 12 points on four 3-pointers.
The Braves extraterrestrial shooting spoiled a night that saw four Bluejays hit double-digits. Watson and Robinson each scored 19 points, Roth had 11, and Malone scored 10.
Sterling?The Warriors, ranked seventh in the NAIA?s lower division, strangled Tabor?s offense from the opening tip and never let the Bluejays take even one deep breath of life.
It was a lesson Tabor helped teach the conference leaders in multiple overtimes a year ago: when you let a KCAC team find its stride, anything can happen.
Last-place McPherson, steamrolled 90-35 Jan. 8 in Sterling, has already understood the relentlessness the Warriors are bringing to their games this year.
?Sterling is a very talented team that is playing with a lot of confidence right now,? Winter said. ?I would expect to see them go deep into the national tournament this year.?
Sterling jumped out to a 12-4 lead and used a 12-2 run to lead by 18 with 11:44 to play in the first half.
Tabor scored seven straight points?a Gina Hullet layup-and-1, a Chelsea Malone jumper, and a Kirsten Watson field goal?but Sterling used a 21-3 run to lead by 29 at halftime.
The Warriors led 55-18 less than three minutes into the second half.
Bluejays freshman Amanda Payne keyed a 7-2 Tabor run, and Sterling countered with an 11-2 jaunt to boost their lead to 41.
Sterling?s backups committed six of the Warriors 20 turnovers in the final 6:30.
?I believe you can always learn something from every game and take something positive away,? Winter said. ?Although we didn’t execute well, our team stayed positive and played hard until the game was over.?
Hullet led the Bluejays with 9 points and 7 rebounds.
Coming?Tabor (3-5, 5-12 overall) hosts Bethany (2-6, 7-11) at 6 p.m. Thursday and McPherson (0-8, 2-11) at 5 p.m. Saturday.