The Tabor College women roared to a 2-0 start last week to begin KCAC play. The Bluejays jumped into a tie for the top spot in the standings and improved to 5-5 for the season.
Tabor defeated McPherson College Saturday, 66-56, after taking care of Sterling College Thursday in Tabor’s home conference opener, 67-52.
“We are trying to change the expectations and mindset of our team, and a big part of that is understanding that how much you improve from game to game, and how well you execute, is just as important as the result,” coach Shawn Reed said.
“We have to focus and be productive on every possession and value the time on the court. If we can learn that, then the sky is the limit for this team.”
McPherson—The Bulldogs bit off more than they could chew as Tabor cruised to the double-digit road victory at McPherson College, 66-56.
“Obviously we were pleased with a road victory at McPherson, but I was not happy with our execution and effort throughout the game,” said coach Shawn Reed.
“I thought we had a wonderful start to the game at both ends of the court. But then we let our intensity and focus lapse and we never regained the edge we had early in the contest.”
The Bluejays sprinted out of the gate with 14 unanswered points, capped by a three-pointer from Janelle Rust.
McPherson chipped away at Tabor’s lead, but improved perimeter shooting from the Bluejays and strength on the boards gave the Jays a 34-21 lead at the half.
The Bulldogs made a seven-point run to begin the second half, but a bucket from Tabor’s Nikki Lewis halted the momentum.
As the margin hovered around double digits, McPherson could not gain the advantage against a Bluejay offense that didn’t let up. Tabor cruised to the 10-point win.
Lewis led the Bluejay attack with 17 points. Rust added 15 points to go with 15 rebounds. Jazmyne Smith chipped in nine points and Molly Moran eight.
Tabor outrebounded McPherson, 38-36, and shot close to 50 percent from the field and went 6-for-16 from the perimeter.
Sterling—A strong defensive performance, especially on the glass, earned Tabor a decisive 67-52 victory over Sterling College Thursday to begin conference play.
“It wasn’t the prettiest game in the world, but at the defensive end and rebounding, we did what we wanted to do,” coach Shawn Reed said. “We held their top two scorers to seven and five points, and that’s why we won.”
Tabor jumped to an early lead, then held off a second-half rally from a physical Sterling team to gain its first conference win.
“It was really physical,” Reed said. “And we knew that (it would be). We’re capable of playing that way, and we’ve stepped up and are more confident in those kinds of games.”
The Bluejays took charge in the opening minutes and held on to a 28-16 lead at the half, despite making just one of 12 three-point attempts.
Tabor’s perimeter shooting didn’t improve much in the second half with three baskets in 10 tries. But its defense held strong, enabling the Bluejays to outscore the Warriors, 39-36, in a hot second half for the win.
Senior Katlyn Mary had a great night for the Bluejays, holding one of the Warriors’ top scorers, Kayla Eilert, to just five points while pouring in 14 for Tabor.
Mary also pulled down eight rebounds, second only to Janelle Rust’s nine.
Becky Bryan came off the bench to score 11 points. Loren Oliver and Hannah Paust each chipped in eight points, with Rust adding seven points to her nine boards.
“Our goal was to keep (Sterling) off the free-throw line and rebound, and we accomplished both those things,” Reed said.
“We missed a lot of shots, we couldn’t buy a three (4-22). That’s not good. That’s not going to win you many games. But we were solid defensively.”
Coming—Tabor will continue KCAC play this week, hosting Bethany College at 6 p.m. Thursday before traveling to Bethel College Saturday for a 5 p.m. contest.