Women’s basketball moves above .500 for first time with win over Central Missouri


Kyle Manthe

Washburn’s bench celebrates after scoring in the third quarter Feb. 12, 2022. The Ichabods defeated Central Missouri 72-71 in the game.

Washburn women’s basketball returned after a three-game road trip and faced off with Central Missouri Saturday for a chance to move above .500 for the first time this season.

After falling behind by nine in the third quarter, they were able to ride a 24-point fourth quarter to come from behind and beat the Jennies 72-71, sweeping the season series.

“Kids did a great job adjusting in the second half and just battling. That group is hard to guard, and very talented offensively,” said Washburn head coach Ron McHenry. “The kids did a great job … it was probably one of the toughest games we have played all year.”

Offense came easy for both teams early as each side drove the ball and worked it into post players. After falling behind by five early on, the Ichabods were able to take the lead by knocking down 5-6 free throws in the quarter with three coming from sophomore guard Macy Doebele.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from senior guard Hunter Bentley in the final 68 seconds of the quarter gave Washburn a 20-16 lead after one.

The Ichabods offense went cold in the second quarter, managing only two points in the first five minutes. The Jennies took advantage and continued to work the ball inside, taking a 26-22 lead.
Washburn got back within one, but an eight point burst of offense from Central Missouri in the final two minutes put the Ichabods in a 36-29 hole at halftime.

After more early scoring coming out of halftime, the Jennies led by as many as eight points in the third quarter.

Washburn’s seniors took over to lead the comeback, with a combined 12 points coming from Bentley and fellow senior guard Nuria Barrientos. Those contributions, along with four offensive rebounds in the frame, pulled the Ichabods within one point at the end of the quarter.

“We got stops and we got out in transition and we picked up some easy layups from that,” Bentley said.

Offenses for both teams came out crisp in the fourth quarter. Central Missouri continued to be led by freshman Brooke Littrell and senior Nija Collier who had each eclipsed 15 points as the lead grew to seven points.

The Ichabods responded with good ball movement, picking up five assists on five possessions to score 12 points. The run was capped off on a layup from sophomore forward Abby Oliver to pull within one.

“They were matchup-zoning a lot, and we were struggling with it and then in the second half we kind of picked it apart with one of our halfcourt offenses and got some slip action going,” McHenry said.

Under the five-minute mark, Doebele knocked down a 3-pointer to knot the game up at 65. The score was still tied at the 2:05 mark when Oliver took a pass from Barrientos to score along with a foul. She knocked down the free throw to put Washburn up 71-68.

A one for four performance at the foul stripe allowed the Jennies to pull within one point at the 1:30 mark.

The lead would stay at one until there was just under five seconds left and Central Missouri was inbounding from the sideline. The Ichabods defense stepped up to force a turnover on the inbounds pass, sealing the 72-71 victory and moving the team above .500 for the first time all season.

“I knew we were getting close, I don’t like to look at it but I knew we were going to fight back to it. I’m just proud of the girls,” McHenry said. “Confidence goes a long way, and we finally got some confidence.”

Bentley led the way with 19 points to go along with five assists. Oliver scored 17 on an efficient 8-12 shooting and Barrientos added 12 on six shots. Doebele had seven points with a team-best 11 rebounds.

The win moved Washburn to 12-11 on the year and 10-7 in MIAA play after starting the season 1-7.

“We always knew that we were good, we just had to put it together. So we just had to come together as a team and we knew that everything else on the court would follow,” Bentley said.

Next up, the Ichabods will begin a two-game road trip with Missouri Western State Feb. 17.

Edited by: Glorianna Noland, Ellie Walker