TC women improve to 5-1 in KCAC

Mallory Zuercher drives toward the basket during the first half at Ottawa Saturday. Zuercher made the basket and was fouled, completing the three-point play to give Tabor an 18-16 lead. Zuercher led Tabor with 14 points in the Bluejays? 65-61 win.The Tabor College women improved to 5-1 in conference play and 10-6 overall after victories over McPher?son and Ottawa last week.

Ottawa?Saturday?s contest at Ottawa was close, with neither team leading by more than seven points before Tabor prevailed, 65-61.

?This is a tough place to win?it?s loud in here,? coach Shawn Reed said. ?I thought the things we did best are we only had seven turnovers here. That?s hard to do. We shot pretty well.

?We missed a few free throws late that could?ve sealed it maybe 30, 45 seconds earlier, and despite that, we had some players step up and make some big plays and big shots. It was just a good, all-around effort by those that played, and it was a hard-fought win.?

The teams traded baskets to start the game. Tena Loewen scored four of Tabor?s first six points, but when Ottawa built a 10-6 lead, Nikki Lewis brought Tabor within one with a three-point basket at the 15:05 mark.

From there, the Braves surged to their largest lead of the night, 16-9. But back-to-back baskets by Janelle Rust ignited a 9-0 Tabor surge that put the Bluejays back in front with 9:11 left in the first half. The Bluejays led, 30-28, at the break.

The Braves used a 6-0 run to claim a 34-30 lead with 18:00 left, and with the exception of one tie at 38, Tabor trailed for more than seven minutes.

When Zuercher hit a three with 10:49 left, Tabor trailed 46-45. Rust followed with a basket and Zuercher hit a second three for a 50-46 Tabor lead.

Zuercher hit her third three-pointer with 6:58 left to put Tabor up, 53-48, but a 7-0 Ottawa surge gave the Braves the lead, 55-53.

Loewen and Dean combined for five straight points to switch the lead back to Tabor, but missed opportunities at the charity stripe kept Ottawa within striking distance. The Braves took a 59-58 lead with 1:26 remaining.

Kaleigh Troxell came up big with a three pointer with just under one minute to play, but Ottawa tied it at 61 with 39.6 seconds left.

Rust missed a shot but Loewen grabbed the rebound and was fouled. She made both free throws to put Tabor in front, 63-61, with 14.1 left.

Troxell came up with a steal, and Ottawa sent her to the charity stripe, where she made both free throws.

Ottawa?s last-second three-pointer missed the mark to seal Tabor?s four-point win.

?Two freshmen made big free throws for us at the end and stepped up there,? Reed said. ?I?m very proud of them. They?ve both been marvelous for us this year, and have really played well in big moments.?

Zuercher led Tabor with 14 points. Rust added 12, and Loewen and Dean each contributed 10. Lewis had 11 assists.

McPherson?The Tabor women were never threatened en route to their 90-48 blowout victory over McPherson Thursday.

The game provided an opportunity for coach Shawn Reed to show the depth of his roster as 16 Bluejays saw playing time.

?We have a deep team, and a lot of those young ladies have not gotten minutes this year because our schedule?s been so tough, and so I was happy for them to get some minutes,? Reed said. ?We have a very deep and talented bench, and what I was most proud of is that they didn?t slack off. In fact, they played very well.?

Although McPherson scored the game?s first points, the Bulldogs? advantage was short-lived. Tabor went ahead for good, 4-2, on a three-point basket by Mallory Zuercher with 18:36 left in the first half.

McPherson tied it with a basket, but Tabor launched a 13-0 run for a 17-4 lead when Tonisha Dean scored with 12:18 left in the half.

The Bulldogs twice drew within eight points after making three-pointers, but Tabor pushed its lead to 32-22 when Kaleigh Troxell scored with 3:00 to go. The Bluejays enjoyed a 41-28 halftime lead.

?The only thing I was upset with in the first half is we had 11 turnovers,? Reed said. ?They?re playing zone and they weren?t pressing us, and it wasn?t like a trapping zone, and 11 turnovers is way too many.

?We talked about cleaning that up at halftime, and we only had six in the second half, so I was happy with that.?

Dean opened second-half scoring with six straight points before McPherson scored at the 16:45 mark. Dean followed with a three-point play that gave the Bluejays a 50-30 lead and ignited a 7-0 Tabor run.

Troxell, Nikki Lewis and Dean each scored from behind the arc in a span of 1:13 for a 63-36 Tabor advantage with 13:31 to play.

Reed began to clear his bench, and Kayla Wilgers scored back-to-back threes to boost Tabor?s lead to 73-41 with 7:16 left.

Another 13-0 run pushed the lead to 86-43, when Molly Moran scored with 2:16 remaining. Tabor?s largest lead was 88-44.

Dean led Tabor with 16 points. Zuercher added 12, and Lewis 10.

?Obviously, we shot the ball pretty well for the game?we shot 52 percent from the field,? Reed said. ?I thought we did a good job defensively. We cleaned up some things in the second half and held them to 20 points when they had 28 in the first.?

Coming?Tabor will host 11th-ranked Southwestern (6-0, 14-3) at 6 p.m. Thursday and University of Saint Mary (2-4, 3-12)?at 5 p.m. Saturday.

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