Washburn Digs In to Win Close One

Bryan Grabauskas Washburn Review

The Washburn Ichabods faced the Missouri Southern State University Lions to Lee Arena.

Tip-off was at 5:30 p.m. and both teams came out of the gate hot. Washburn got the ball to start and quickly scored a three-pointer to get the first points of the game.

The Lions were not to be left behind, making their own shot to catch back up to a score of 3-2. After a little back and forth, Missouri Southern had a 5-7 lead until the Ichabods got the ball on a fast break and tied the game up with 6:33 left in the first quarter.

The teams traded shots leading to a 12-12 tie, until the Ichabods stormed to a 22-14 lead on the strength of some great inside play by Alyxis Bowens to close out the first quarter. With a mix of good shots, and some free throws provided by the Lions’ fouls, Washburn continued to extend its lead to 32-14 near the midpoint of the half Missouri Southern scoring 14 points in the latter part of the half, going into halftime behind 38-28.

The first half had both teams competing for a lead before Washburn got ahead, and then the Lions rallied to shrink Washburn’s lead before halftime.

The third quarter got off to an explosive start with the Ichabods scoring a three pointer and getting a steal. The Lions answered back with a steal of their own and picked up a few of the balls the Ichabods dropped.

The Ichabods had a number of turnovers in the third quarter, but were fortunate enough to keep a 51-43 lead heading into the final quarter. This was in large part due to the fouls committed by Missouri Southern.

The fourth quarter started with more of the same, as the Ichabods began the period with another turnover. Washburn scored another three pointer to put them up 54-45 with a little over eight minutes to go, but they again allow Missouri Southern to rally and get back within four points. Washburn scored again thanks to a Missouri Southern foul, but the Lions came back with six more points, three from a shot behind the arc and another three from a fouled shot with a free-throw added to it. The Ichabods felt the heat, with the Lions only down by one point at 57-56. The Ichabods scored another three points to lessen the pressure in the final minutes, but they dropped the ball and Missouri Southern snatched it up for two more points, bringing them back within two points of the Ichabods with 4 minutes left.

The Lions fell into the trap of trying to foul the Ichabods to conserve the clock. Washburn used their free throws in those instances and comfortably increased the size of their lead as the clock winded down.

The final score ended as 70-62 with Washburn earning their twelfth win of the season. With the fourth quarter coming down to the wire, Bowens shared her thoughts on it.

“At that time we realized we needed to buckle down on defense, take our time on offense, and really not freak out. Even though it was a close game, we still had plenty of time to get done what we needed to get done.”

Coach McHenry added , “We didn’t really fight the way I wanted, but at the end there we really dug in. They made a run to get back… we made a couple of really nice plays up at the foul line to stretch that lead from two to something more comfortable.”

That is how the night went. Washburn let their lead slip and it got close at the end, but they pulled it together when it mattered and won the game.