Lady Blues shut down Gorillas

Eric Smith

The No. 8 Washburn Lady Blues got back on the winning track Saturday night at Pittsburg State with junior guard Janice Bright leading the way.

Wednesday the Washburn women lost to Southwest Baptist for only the third time of the year. Coming into Saturday’s game, they needed someone to step up. Janice Bright happily took the role, scoring a career-high 22 points as the Lady Blues took care of the Gorillas in John Lance Arena, 85-61.

The win moved the Washburn women to a record of 14-3 and 6-2 in the MIAA. It also kept them tied for first-place in the conference with Northwest Missouri. With the loss the Gorillas move into fifth place in the conference with a record of 12-4 and 3-4.

Bright had a game to remember, not only having the game high in points but also in rebounds with eight. And she did it all while shooting 8 of 10 from the field, including 4 of 5 from behind the arc.

“We were happy to get a win tonight,” said Bright. “We redeemed ourselves from last week. We came out and played aggressive.”

Going 1 of 6 from the field to start the game, the Lady Blues eventually recovered, leading at halftime 41-25 while shooting 14 of 34. The second half saw the Lady Blues go up by as much as 31 on the Gorillas and shoot over 50 percent. The Washburn women finished 29 of 63, including 12 of 28 in 3-pointers.

“We were able to pull out the win because firstly we established our defense. Defense is always the key with us,” said Bright. “Second of all, a lot of our shots were falling tonight. We hit a lot of key baskets.”

Junior guard Karla Tailele tied her career high with 13 points coming off the bench. She shot 3 of 4 from 3-point territory. Senior forward Amanda Holmes added 12 points including 7 of 9 from the free throw line. She also had five rebounds and three steals.

“We have a lot of talent,” said senior Amanda Holmes. “We really do. We have a lot of great players. We want to work hard. We want to play. I think we struggle sometimes because we’re just so new. We’re just still getting used to playing together. We haven’t quite got the feel for each other yet. It’s come along, though. I think we’ve come together.”

The head-to-head match-up between the two schools has been lopsided in recent history, with the Lady Blues having won the last 14, including seven at PSU.

“This is a huge win for us on the road,” said red-shirt freshman Hope Gregory. “I just think it’s so easy to get a run put on you by the other team when you’re away from home. So any conference win is a good one, especially one like this.”

The Washburn women now have a 7-3 road mark this season with only three remaining away games to play. Their 7-0 undefeated home record will be challenged 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in Lee Arena when the Missouri Southern Lady Lions come to town.

“Every team in our conference is capable of beating every other team,” said Gregory. “It’s just another game that we have to play. They’re going to be a challenge.

“We just have to go in and play hard and hopefully we can get a good win.”