TC women stumble into ninth place

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Kirsten Watson torches Friends defender Alyson Snell in the first half Thursday. Tabor led 28-17 at halftime, but lost 50-47.

The Tabor College women?s basketball team muffed a 28-17 halftime lead with a 6-for-26 shooting drought in the second half and fell to Friends by a 50-47 final score Thursday.

Saint Mary used a 42-point second half to punk the Bluejays 69-67 Saturday in Leavenworth.

The week?s second loss dropped Tabor (5-9 KCAC, 7-17 overall) and lifted Saint Mary (5-9, 12-12) into a 3-way tie for ninth in the conference alongside Bethany (5-9, 10-14).

Saint Mary?Tabor jumped out to a 41-27 halftime lead in the women's game, but the fast start failed to paralyze the Spires, who used a 14-for-27 field goal shooting performance to rally after the intermission.

The Bluejays managed just 26 points in the second half, despite landing four players in double-digits points: Gina Hullet (14), Kirsten Watson (12), Andrea Robinson (11) and Stephanie Silvas (11).

?The biggest statistic in the game was our lack of mental toughness in the second half of the game,? coach Shawn Winter said. ?We had unforced turnovers, took bad shots and didn’t defend well down the stretch.?

?It was a total lack of team effort to close out a game when they were in control on both ends of the floor,? he said.

Friends?Tabor dominated the final 16 minutes of the first half, outscoring the Falcons 24-11 during a run sparked by Kirsten Watson. Watson recorded three assists on point-blank baskets by Jordan Crosson, Katie Mount and Sarah Wyckoff, then tallied a traditional 3-point play to open up a 26-13 Bluejays lead.

?Friends always plays very aggressive defense and does not allow easy shots,? Winter said. ?In fact, they rank third in the nation in defensive field goal percentage, so it’s something they give a lot of attention to in practice.?

After successfully defying the Falcons defense for 20 minutes, Tabor?s scores came with considerable difficulty after the break.

Apart from an ?and-1? layup by Gina Hullet set up by Watson with 13:48 to go, Tabor made only five field goals in the second half.

The Bluejays shooting struggles were particularly evident at the foul line (nine of 21) and from 3-point range (zero of 10).

?Again, we showed a lack of mental toughness when the game was on the line by not making our free throws and committing unforced turnovers,? Winter said.

Hullet’s traditional 3-point play put Tabor ahead 37-25, but the Falcons shredded that margin in only seven minutes.

Friends claimed a 43-42 lead with 7:07 to go on a basket by Katie Porter, and secured it with an Alyson Snell 3-pointer on the subsequent possession.

Stephanie Silvas kept the Bluejays within four, and the Falcons run stalled with five minutes to go.

Andrea Robinson?s 2-pointer off of Silvas? assist closed the gap to 48-47 with 3:22 left, but the teams combined to score just two foul shots the rest of the way?both by Mary Onelio, who clinched it for the visitors before fouling out.

Onelio exited with a 12 points, 10 rebounds double-double, and Porter finished with 11 points for Friends.

Hullet led Tabor with 13 points and Watson totaled six points alongside 11 rebounds.

Coming?Tabor (13-10 overall) meets bottom-dwelling Bethel (3-20, 1-11 KCAC) Thursday in Hillsboro. The Bluejays host Sterling at 5 p.m. Saturday, and request that those attending wear pink in support of Tabor?s Cancer Awareness Night.

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