Team effort leads women’s basketball over Central Oklahoma

The Washburn women’s basketball team returned Saturday, Feb. 16 to Lee Arena to battle the Bronchos of Central Oklahoma.

The Ichabods ran out to a fast start and withstood a third quarter push from the Bronchos to lead them to the eventual 74-53 win.

Washburn stormed out of the gates to a 9-0 lead on the strength of three 3-pointers, one from sophomore guard Hunter Bentley and two to open the game by senior forward Taylor Blue. The fast start caused a timeout from the UCO bench.

The scoring didn’t stop after the timeout. Junior guard Alexis McAfee got in on the 3-point shootout. After a McAfee layup, Washburn led 14-0.

Bentley would convert another 3-pointer and the stifling defense of the Ichabods held UCO to just six points to lead 21-6 after one quarter.

“It’s always nice to get off to a good start,” said Bentley. “Then we can just keep on rolling from them on out and it’s nice to play that way. We played really well as a team today.”

Blue continued to initiate the offense with a couple of quick buckets to begin the second and stretch the Washburn lead to 19.

Central Oklahoma finally began to find some traction offensively and put some points on the board. They cut the lead back down to 16.

The overall offensive production of the game began to slow late in the second quarter. Both teams traded a handful of baskets and Washburn took a 37-23 lead into the halftime locker room.

The Ichabods shot 44 percent in the first half, paced by Bentley’s team high 13 points.

After settling in during the second quarter, the Bronchos started to turn up their defensive intensity, which powered their offense.

A three from junior guard Reagan Phelan stretched the lead back to 15, but the lead started to dissipate.

UCO started to chip away at the lead slowly but surely. With 1:49 minutes to go in third, the lead was down to 10 and after a pair of free throws with 16 seconds left the Bronchos had made it a ballgame again.

The third quarter ended with Ichabods only leading by a mere six points.

The quarter break gave Washburn a chance to catch their breath and regain control heading into the fourth.

“We needed to get back in that second gear and keep on pushing,” said Blue. “Everyone kind of hits a little wall, but we just had to keep pushing and get over it.”

The sharpshooting of Phelan struck again to start the fourth quarter as she nailed a 3-pointer from the corner.

When senior Nicole Murugarren converted a layup, the Ichabods regained a double digit advantage that they would not relinquish for the rest of the game.

McAfee and Bentley hit back-to-back three’s with just under five minutes to play and effectively put the game out of reach at an 18-point advantage.

The Ichabods would finish strong and win the game going away by a final score of 74-53 to improve to 17-7 overall and 12-3 in the MIAA.

A great team effort offensively allowed the Bods to make 12 of 28 3-pointers to keep control throughout.

“Just sharing the ball,” said Bentley. “We made the extra pass a lot and that helped us, and we were just hitting shots, so it was easier for us.”

Washburn has now won three consecutive games and will travel to take on Lindenwood for their next game at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21 in St. Charles, Missouri.