Wade Steinlage, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications
OSKALOOSA – It was the first day of the spring semester for William Penn University students and that means it’s the home stretch for winter sports and the William Penn women’s basketball team began its final push with a matchup with #23 Central Methodist.
The Statesmen (14-1, 9-1 Heart) grinded out a win over the Eagles (11-5, 7-3 Heart) 77-73, despite not playing their “A” game. In fact, the ladies were outshot by the visitors 45.5%-38% from the field and 45%-30% from beyond the arc. They made up for it however, on the boards and at the charity stripe, outrebounding CMU 39-26 and converting 33 free throws in 38 attempts.
Midway through the first quarter, the navy and gold led 14-13 but little did they know it was the last lead they had until the second half. The Eagles lead grew to as many as 11 but the Statesmen hung around and were able to weather a hot shooting effort to find themselves trailing only 43-38 heading into halftime.
It has become no secret that WPU is a second half team and it was no different in this game. The ladies were able to get the Eagles in foul trouble early in the quarter and took advantage at the free-throw line to tie it up at 60 whenMakenzie Pezley (So., Keokuk, Iowa, elementary education) was fouled on a three-point attempt with 0.08 to go in the quarter and converted all three.
The fourth quarter was a back-and-forth affair that saw the teams trade blows with five ties and the lead changing five times. William Penn garnered the final lead with 12 seconds left on the clock on a layup byBrenda Pennington (Jr., Hammond, Ind., Psychology) who would ice the game on the following possession from the free-throw line to give her team the 77-73 win.
Vashti Nwagbaraocha (Sr., Milwaukee, Wis., Exercise Science) seized her fifth straight double-double, posting a game-high 28 points (7-15 FG) and 13 rebounds. She also added three steals and a block to her line. Pennington was behind her with 15 points and added 5 rebounds of her own to go along with the game-sealing free-throws.Kate Ylitalo (Jr., Maple Plain, Minn., Biology) tallied 12 points and Pezley added 11 more off the bench in the victory.Jenna Santi (Sr., Oak Creek, Wis., Sports Management) played the role of facilitator dishing out five assists, a game-high.
Next Up: William Penn will return to action in a home game with division foe Mount Mercy on Thursday, January 10, at Penn Gymnasium in Oskaloosa at 5:30 PM.