Women’s basketball honors six seniors but loses by five to Lions


Jesse Bruner

The Washburn women’s basketball seniors pose after the game Thursday Feb. 24, 2022, at Lee Arena in Topeka, Kansas. Washburn fell to Missouri Southern 55-50 in the game.

Washburn women’s basketball was in action at home for the final time this season as they hosted Missouri Southern for senior night.

A slow offensive performance resulting in a 55-50 loss spoiled the ceremonies. Even after the loss, head coach Ron McHenry still saw a lot of the characteristics that kept the team competitive after starting 1-7, with the senior class leading by example.

“It’s a great group,” McHenry said. “They are a solid group of people and players. For however many years they have been here, they have put in a lot of time and effort into this year trying to get us back and competitive in the league.”

The contest was the last at Lee Arena for the team’s six seniors headlined by senior guard Hunter Bentley, the programs all-time leader in minutes and games played.

“It might take a while for me to have that set in. It’s crazy; there have been so many good players that have gone into this program, so to be one of those, it’s really awesome and I couldn’t have asked for anything more out of my career,” Bentley said.

McHenry took pride in coaching Bently and praised her for her hard work and dedication to the team.

“She looked tired tonight, but that’s my fault. I ran her through a lot of stuff and put a lot on her plate, and she handled it well,” McHenry said. “She is just a really complete player and a player that is hard for me to get off the floor for five years.”

The loss moved Washburn to 13-14 on the year, as they sit in eighth place in the MIAA.

Defense dictated the game early on, as Washburn controlled a 4-3 lead early with all four points coming from sophomore forward Abby Oliver. A 12-6 first quarter rebounding advantage helped Missouri Southern control the game as they led 14-11 after 10 minutes.

The Ichabods offense continued to run cold to start the second quarter. A Bentley 3-pointer at the 6:36 mark ended a 7-0 run for the Lions

Washburn’s defense remained strong even against a bigger Missouri Southern team. They held the Lions to just 16.7% shooting in the quarter. The Ichabods shot under 20% themselves in the quarter but two 3-pointers closed the gap to make it a 24-22 game at halftime.

Washburn scored on its first two possessions out of halftime to tie the game at 26. But turnovers and offensive rebounds began to hurt the Ichabods as Missouri Southern reeled off the next 12 points, half of them coming from freshman Lacy Stokes.

“They have been a good defensive team all year; they are one of the top teams in the league. So, we just struggled to score,” McHenry said.

Oliver and Bentley scored the final four points for Washburn to pull within nine at the end of the third quarter.

The Ichabods kept the game within 10at the start of the fourth quarter, cutting it down to seven on multiple occasions. Under the five-minute mark, back-to-back pull up jump shots from freshman guard Aubree Dewey made it a five-point game.

That is where the deficit would stay as the game moved into the final minute. A driving layup by Oliver at the 16-second mark cut the game to three as Washburn was forced to foul.

The Lions knocked down a pair of free throws with nine seconds left to go up by five. The Ichabods came up empty on the final possession, falling 55-50.

“If you told me going into the game that we would hold them to 55, I would say we had a chance, and we did. Just a little bit better clean basketball offensively and we win, but we didn’t,” McHenry said.

Bentley and Oliver each had 12 to lead the Ichabods. Senior Nuria Barrientos added six points, seven rebounds and four steals in her final home contest.

“It’s kind of crazy to think about how much I have grown as a player and a person. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I mean, all of my teammates throughout the five years and coach Mac, Brette and Erika,” said senior Hunter Bentley. “It’s just been awesome to get to know them and to be able to be a part of this program.”

Washburn will wrap up the regular season on the road, facing Emporia State Saturday, Feb. 26.

Edited by: Ellie Walker, Justin Shepard