The Tabor College women?s basketball team snuck out of Ottawa with a 67-63 victory Saturday despite trailing a majority of the contest. The Bluejays held the lead for around four minutes of game time, but led by four at the final buzzer.
Mallory Zuercher scored Tabor?s first two field goals for a 4-2 Bluejay lead, but Ottawa tied the game and took the lead. Nicole Decker scored Tabor?s third and final basket of the first quarter at the 2:56 mark. Amber Bonham contributed four free throws, and the Bluejays trailed, 19-10, at the first break. Tabor shot just 23 percent from the field in the period (3-13).
Ottawa increased its lead to 23-12 before Tena Loewen and Sam Short scored in succession. Decker, Taylor Hurd and Taylor Deniston each made a three-pointer in a 2:12 span to help trim the margin to 31-27. The Bluejays drew within 36-33 with a 6-1 run, but Ottawa stretched its halftime advantage to 40-33.
The Bluejays increased their intensity after the break, outscoring Ottawa 8-2 to close the gap to one. The teams traded scores, and Deniston closed the third quarter with a three-point play, bringing Tabor within 52-50.
Jurnee Reid tied the game 23 seconds into the final period and the teams traded baskets. With Tabor trailing 56-54, Amber Bonham single-handedly contributed to a 7-0 Bluejay run, putting Tabor in front for good, 61-56, with 1:55 to play.
The Braves made a three-pointer to draw within 63-61 with 14 seconds left. Loewen and Reid sandwiched a Brave basket by each making two free-throws in the final 10 seconds to solidify the four-point win.
?In the first half, we weren?t trusting each other defensively,??coach Shawn Reed said. ?Our help wasn?t where it needed to be. We did not shoot well either, and we were just a little out of sync. Then in the second half, we were able to turn that around and shoot the ball better.?
Loewen led Tabor?s effort with 14 points. Bonham scored 11, and Reid 10.
Bethel?Tabor used a big second-half performance to roll to a 73-46 win Thursday.
The teams were tied at 29 at halftime, but Tabor stepped up the defensive pressure in the final two quarters, limiting the Threshers to just 17 points.
?In the first half, we were gambling and taking chances, and every time we did that, it created lanes and opportunities for them,? coach Shawn Reed said. ?We had to be more disciplined. We weren?t playing Tabor women?s basketball defense. In the second half, we got back to doing what we do.?
The Bluejays? shooting improved in the second half too, from a chilly 28 percent in the first half (11-39) to 43 percent in the second (16-37).
Tabor took a 13-9 lead to start the game, but Bethel ended the first quarter on a 9-2 run for an 18-15 advantage at the first break.
Mallory Zuercher fired off two three-pointers in the first two minutes of the second quarter to give Tabor a 21-20 lead, and the Bluejays led, 25-22 when Taylor Deniston scored. From there, Bethel outscored Tabor 7-1 to regain the lead. Tena Loewen tied the game at 29 with a traditional three-point play with 35 seconds left before halftime.
The Bluejays turned things around in the third quarter, outscoring Bethel, 20-7. Amber Bonham scored 11 of her team-high 13 points in the period, which ended with Tabor leading comfortably, 49-36.
Tabor enjoyed its biggest offensive production in the fourth quarter, outscoring Bethel, 24-10. The closest Bethel got after that was within 51-40, and Tabor cruised to its largest lead at the end.
Kayla Wilgers joined Bonham in double figures with 10 points. The win concluded the first half of conference play. Tabor leads the KCAC with a 10-0 record.
?It?s a good feat, but we did play seven of 10 games at home, so I think there?s a little bit of an asterisk there,? Reed said. We have three really tough road games now in a row, so we?ll find out what we?re made of.
?It?s good to go undefeated. It?s good that we held serve on our home court. That?s important. We want to continue to do that. But we?ve got a lot of work left to do.?
Coming?Tabor (11-0, 14-6), who leads the KCAC race and ranks 19th nationally, will face the next two teams in the KCAC standings this week. The Bluejays will play at Kansas Wesleyan (7-4, 16-5), who is receiving votes, tonight at 6 p.m. and will travel to No. 25 Friends (8-2, 14-6) Saturday for a 5 p.m. game.
?We?ve got to play four quarters of basketball, and we?ve got to get off to better starts, especially on the road,??Reed said. ?We?re playing with fire a little bit. We?ve got to start better and play four quarters.?