Women’s basketball starts strong

The women’s basketball team spent the holiday break at the Cross Creek InnKeeper Turkey Shootout, hosted by Methodist University. After coming into the tournament with a 2-1 record, the Lions left with a 3-2 record, winning one game and losing the other. The Lions’ 3-2 record is a step up from their 2-4 start last season.

Senior Hannah Tait is a team standout. (Courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

“This is a really fun, young group,” said Head Coach Dawn Henderson. “We have really good leadership and that makes a big difference with a young team. They work really hard and enjoy each other. All of that adds up to positive outcomes.”

In its first game of the tournament, the College beat Methodist University with a late-game surge. With seven minutes left and the score tied at 47-47, the Lions scored seven straight points, giving them a comfortable lead. The team never looked back from there, sealing the game at the 2:20 by making all six of its free throws en route to its third win of the season.

“Road games are always tough,” Henderson said. “I was happy that we were able to play the home team and come away with a win. We want to be as fundamentally sound as possible and above all else, play as a team. That’s how we were able to come back late for the win.”

Senior guard Jessica Imhof led all scorers with 17 points, while drilling three three-pointers. Senior guard Hannah Tait chipped in with 10 points and eight rebounds. Overall, it was the Lions’ clutch three-point shooting that gave them the win, as they made 50 percent of their shots from the three-point line.

In the final game of the tournament, the women’s squad played Ferrum College in a tough game. The Lions saw themselves down by an early 12-point deficit in the first half, but closed the gap to a 46-40 deficit at the break.

Throughout the remainder of the game, the Panthers never relinquished their lead. Senior forward Kelsey Kutch hit a pair of back-to-back field goals in the second half to narrow the lead to four points. This was the closest the Lions ever came, however, as the Panthers responded with a 15-8 run to end the game.

“The Ferrum game was probably our most disappointing game to this point,” Henderson said. “We just didn’t play well, and Ferrum has a terrific team. Less than our best wasn’t good enough to beat this team. I thought we worked hard, but our decision-making wasn’t what it needs to be. We also shot poorly from the floor and free throw line and gave up too many points in the first half.”

On the bright side, sophomore forward Liz West finished the game with a career-high 19 points and recorded nine rebounds. Her performance earned her a spot on the all-tournament team.

“It was definitely a fun and successful weekend, even though we had hoped to be 2-0,” Henderson said. “We have a big week this week with the conference play beginning. We are looking forward to our first home game Wednesday.”