The Tabor College women concluded the regular season with a win at Bethel Saturday, improving to 19-1 in KCAC play, 23-7 overall. A one-point loss to Southwestern Thursday was the only blemish on an otherwise perfect record.
Following Saturday?s win at Bethel, coach Shawn Reed stressed the importance of moving on following Thursday?s loss.
?It was very important for us to bounce back,? he said. ?That was disappointing to lose with 0.4 seconds left and to lose our opportunity to make history with our guys. The girls are disappointed.?
Bethel?Tabor capped the regular season with a 77-60 victory.
?Our offensive execution and decision-making was a lot better,? coach Shawn Reed said. ?We had a bunch of turnovers, but a lot of those were at the end.
?I was proud of the way that we played and the way that we executed. Our shot-selection (and) our passing was a lot better. Defensively, we were really locked in.?
The first quarter ended with Tabor leading, 15-14. Tabor began to pick up speed in the second quarter, outscoring Bethel, 11-3 in the first five minutes. Tabor ended the half on a 7-0 run to lead, 38-25.
The teams traded scores to start the third quarter, but Tabor ended it with an 11-3 burst in the final four minutes to lead 58-37 at the final break.
The Bluejays stretched the lead to as many as 73-40 midway through the final quarter, and Reed began to clear his bench.
Four Bluejays scored in double figures, led by Kaleigh Troxell with 12 points.
Southwestern?Tabor suffered its first KCAC defeat after a last-second shot Thursday, 59-58.
The Bluejays led, 39-27, at halftime, but the wheels came off after that, as Tabor made five of its 28 second-half attempts.
?We won every statistical category except we shot 18 percent in the second half,? coach Shawn Reed said. ?That lost us the game.?
The game was tied five times in the first quarter. Southwestern made eight of its 13 attempts from the field in the period.
Sam Short and Amber Bonham scored in succession to give Tabor it?s only lead of the quarter, 10-8, but a 6-0 run put the Builders back in front. Taylor Deniston made a three to bring the Bluejays within 16-15 at the first break.
The Bluejays erupted with a 17-0 run to start the second quarter. By the time Deniston scored off her steal, Tabor led, 32-16.
The Builders gained some ground, and Tabor held a 39-27 advantage at halftime.
Southwestern went on a 14-3 run to start the third quarter. Tabor went 3:27 without scoring, allowing the Builders to close the gap to 42-41. Morgan Ediger and Mallory Zuercher contributed to a 6-0 run after that, and the period ended with Tabor in front, 48-44.
Southwestern took the lead, 50-48, then Tabor reclaimed it, 53-50. Tena Loewen?s basket with 5:57 to go proved to be Tabor?s last?and only second?field goal in the period.
After free throws by Reid and Amber Bonham, Tabor clung to a 56-54 lead at 2:42, but Southwestern jumped back in front, 57-56.
Bonham made two free-throws with 14 seconds left to give Tabor a 58-57 lead. The Builders turned it over, but two Bluejay free-throws missed their mark. Southwestern made the game-winner with less than one second left. Tabor missed a three-point attempt at the buzzer.
?We just had a really bad half,? Reed said. ?First half, we played pretty good offensively.
?We took our foot off the gas, and then we were missing shots in the second half. We started to panic.?
Loewen had a double-double performance with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Zuercher scored 10 points.
Coming?Having won the KCAC regular season title, the Bluejays have earned the No. 1 seed in the KCAC tournament.
Tabor (19-1, 23-7) will host No. 8 Kansas Wesleyan (8-12, 17-13) tonight at 7 p.m. With a win, Tabor would face either No. 4 Southwestern (11-9, 13-17) or No. 5 McPherson (10-10, 13-17) Saturday at 2 p.m. The other half of the bracket features No. 6 Ottawa (9-11, 10-17) at No. 3 Oklahoma Wesleyan (11-9, 17-13) and No. 7 Sterling (9-11, 11-18) at No. 2 Friends (15-5, 21-9).
The championship will be played at Hartman Arena Monday, Feb. 29 at 6 p.m.
As winners of the regular-season title, Tabor has already punched its ticket to the NAIA Division II National Championship in Sioux City, Iowa, March 9-15.