Jan. 16, 2013
Bearcats Knock off Lincoln 77-60
By David Boyce
Disregard the first four minutes of the game when Northwest Missouri State women’s basketball team gave up 10 straight points to Lincoln University.
Northwest entered Bearcat Arena Wednesday evening desperate for a win to snap a three-game losing streak. In the second half, the Bearcats played with a hunger that left Lincoln starving for points.
The combination of a tenacious defense and efficient offense in the second half led Northwest to an impressive 77-60 victory. Northwest improved to 9-5 overall and 3-3 in the MIAA.
“It was really nice, especially at home. We had a pretty good crowd tonight,” said sophomore Ashleigh Nelson. “We played with confidence.”
If the Bearcats continue to play the way they did in the second half against Lincoln, they will give teams in the MIAA plenty of trouble.
“We wanted to win this game,” Northwest coach Mark Kellogg said. “It was a game at home and a very winnable game. But we knew we needed to play well.”
The offensive onslaught began when freshman Tember Schechinger scored early in the second half to give Northwest a 31-30. It was part of a 6-0 run that turned a 30-29 deficit into a 35-30 lead.
Northwest never trailed again and the best was yet to come.
“We know we will find an open player if we keep passing the ball around,” Schechinger said. “We do a good job of finding an open player.”
Leading 35-32, the Bearcats clicked in every phase. They scored the next 15 points for a commanding 50-32 advantage. Every player on the court contributed to the run.
“I liked our defensive effort,” Kellogg said. “Some of it, they just missed some easy baskets, but we limited them to one shot, finally. We thought we could beat them in transition.”
The Bearcats shared the basketball, helped each other on defense and played the gritty brand of basketball necessary to win in the MIAA.
Sophomore center Maggie Marnin was getting great passes for easy buckets inside. Nelson continued her hot shooting, knocking down a couple of three-pointers during the spurt.
The play of Marnin and Nelson only scratches the surface of how well the Bearcats played in the second half.
Schechinger and Meridee Scott led Northwest in scoring with 15 points, Annie Mathews added 12 and Nelson had 10.
“We are best when we are sharing the basketball,” Kellogg said. “We had 18 assists, which was good.”
The way the Bearcats played for much of the second half was in direct contrast with how they played the first 4 minutes when they fell behind 10-0.
“We allowed them to drive to the basket and we were taking some shots we didn’t need to take,” Kellogg said. “We needed to settle in and we finally started making some shots.
“It’s a lot more fun to play defense when you are making some shots.”
Northwest quickly broke through the fog and scored the next 10 points and then stayed close to Lincoln the rest of the half.
“We call it weathering the storm,” Kellogg said.
The Bearcats went into halftime trailing only 28-27.
The signs of a strong of a second half were there. Schechinger made four of six shots and Marnin was two for three from the field.
The key for the Bearcats now is to continue what they started in the second half against Lincoln and take it on the road for their game at Central Oklahoma on Saturday.“We definitely have to work really hard in the gym and have it carry over to the game,” Nelson said. “We play our best when we practice well.”
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