OSKALOOSA – A remarkable defensive effort led the Statesmen women’s basketball team to its first home victory of the season, defeating Missouri Valley, 54-44, in Heart of America Athletic Conference play Saturday.
WPU (2-16, 2-5 Heart), which shot just 36.5% overall, was excellent on the other end, limiting the Vikings (9-7, 3-4 Heart) to 30.4% shooting and only 15 second-half points. Missouri Valley’s 44 points are the fewest William Penn has allowed since Mount Mercy only managed 41 points on February 26, 2020.
In a matchup that included six ties and 10 lead changes, the squads were tied at 15 after the first quarter, while MVC owned a 29-27 halftime advantage.
WPU trailed for the final time at 36-34 with 5:20 left in the third quarter. The remainder of the stanza belonged to the hosts who scored the final eight points as part of a 12-0 run that spanned just over seven minutes of the game.
The Statesmen lead grew to a game-high 11 points with 6:37 left in regulation. With the clock as its friend, William Penn went cold, but fortunately so did Missouri Valley as neither side scored for over three minutes. Needing little offense down the stretch, WPU knocked down four three throws and one field goal down to easily hold off the Vikings.
William Penn’s defense, which held its foe to just six field goals after intermission, was paced by Morgan Terry (Jr., Cornersville, Tenn., Biology) who drew four charge calls, all in the second half.
Terry also got the job done on offense with 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting (5-for-7 FT). While Terry was solid at the free-throw line, WPU was not great collectively at just 12-for-20. Fortunately, the Vikings also struggled to the tune of 40.0% (4-for-10).
Zantasia White (Jr., Lubbock, Texas, Secondary Education) matched Terry with 15 points as well, while Journie Augmon (Jr., Las Vegas, Nev., Human Services) narrowly missed the mark with nine points off the bench.
Alexis True (Jr., Frankfort, Ky., Exercise Science) contributed seven points and dished out four assists, while Ally Stewart (Jr., Victoria, Australia, Physical Education) ended the afternoon with six points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Despite being outrebounded 42-37 overall and 15-13 on the offensive glass, the Statesmen doubled up Missouri Valley 14-7 in second-chance points.
Both squads had issues with ball control with the navy and gold committing one fewer turnover (16-17). The victors were more successful in turning those mistakes into points as they outscored MVC 13-5 in points off turnovers.
“The ladies showed fight today,” Head Coach Jenna Santi said. “Our defense was the winning factor. Coming off of COVID, I am proud of the aggression and tenacity on the court.”
William Penn travels to Dubuque next Wednesday to face No. 15 Clarke in Heart play at 5:30 p.m.