Wade Steinlage, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications
DES MOINES – The Statesmen women’s basketball team overcame a slow start and improved in every quarter Friday, eventually pulling away for a 73-62 non-conference victory against Missouri Baptist.
No. 25 William Penn (2-0) remained perfect as Brenda Pennington (Sr., Hammond, Ind., Psychology) tied a career high with 20 points. The team once again shot well from the field at 50.0 percent, while MBU (0-1) was held to 44.4 percent overall.
The game, played on the campus of Grand View University, saw the Spartans lead the entire first 10 minutes. Both sides scored on their opening possessions, but Missouri Baptist tallied the next five points and led 18-14 after the opening stanza.
The margin grew to six points at 20-14 before the navy and gold dominated the next two-plus minutes with 11 unanswered for a 25-20 edge. Autumn Voigt (Sr., Clintonville, Wis., Business Management) started the run with a three-point play, while Pennington and Haley Mullinnix (Jr., West Branch, Iowa, Sports Management) each knocked down three-pointers.
Unfortunately, MBU rallied to go back on top at 32-30, but a last-second bucket by Nyachristmas Puok (Sr., Des Moines, Iowa, Biology) tied the game at 32-32 at intermission.
William Penn was shooting 52.2% at halftime, but had also committed 12 turnovers as it was unable to pull away from its foe.
The Statesmen came out of the locker room on a mission, pouring in seven points in the first two minutes of action. The Spartans once again had an answer, though, and tied the contest at 48-48 late in the third quarter. Madisyn Rogan (Fr., Stevens Point, Wis., Applied Mathematics) fortunately gave her squad the advantage for good on the very next play, connecting on a trifecta. The freshman finished with eight points to pace all bench performers.
The William Penn lead hovered between one and seven points for the first part of the fourth period. Still far from out of the woods up just two points at 63-61 with less than three minutes remaining, the Statesmen finally separated themselves from the Spartans.
Mullinnix first drained a three-pointer and Kate Ylitalo (Sr., Maple Plain, Minn., Biology) found the bottom of the net with another long try on the next trip down the court. Pennington then converted a three-point play and in slightly more than a minute, WPU was up by 11 points and finished with the double-digit triumph.
Pennington was 6-for-9 from the floor (1-1 3-PT) and made seven of her nine free throws. She also tallied six assists against three turnovers. Both programs had 21 turnovers with MBU owning a 17-10 edge in points off mistakes.
Ylitalo connected on three three-pointers en route to 14 points. Puok and Olivia Usher (Sr., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Mathematics) matched Rogan with eight points, while Usher also pulled down nine rebounds. The navy and gold held a 32-25 margin in rebounding, but were outscored 17-8 in second-chance points.
Mullinnix added six points to go along with three steals.
Both teams shot well from behind the arc (WPU held a 41.7-36.8 percent edge) and from the charity stripe (MBU owned an 87.5-75.0 percent margin).
“We found a way to win, but we did not play up to our potential,” Head Coach Steve Williamson said. “I am extremely proud of the effort that Brenda played with tonight. We need to learn how to play hard for 40 minutes, not just in spurts. We have a lot of work to do to reach our goals on the season.”
Next Up: William Penn returns to Oskaloosa next Wednesday to host No. 9 Columbia in non-conference play at 5:30 p.m.