Purple and Gold push past Truman State

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Olivia Kaufmann plays defense against a University of Nebraska-Omaha player.

David Koier, Courier Staff

MACOMB, Ill. — The Western Illinois Leathernecks women’s basketball team competed against the Truman State Bulldogs in an exhibition game last Sunday. The Leathernecks caged the Bulldogs, defeating them 92-86.

Western Illinois head coach, JD Gravina, had many positive things to say about the game.

“That was exactly what we wanted out of an exhibition game. We scheduled Truman State because we knew they were physical, skilled and could shoot. There were a ton of positives and also a lot of things we identified that we need to improve on,” Gravina said.

The Purple and Gold came out strong in the first half, making 23 field goals of their attempted 35. Making seven three-pointers and seven of nine free throws, the Leathernecks led the exhibition at half 60-45.

The second half didn’t look as well for the Purple and Gold as they only made eight field goals, with only two of them coming from beyond the arc. The majority of their points in the second half came from 14 free throws made.

The Purple and Gold took advantage of the Bulldogs’ 19 turnovers, scoring 24 points off of turnovers. The Leathernecks had their own blunders as well, letting Truman State score 20 points off of their 16 turnovers.

The starters for Western led the team in scoring, taking the lead right away and never relinquishing it for the rest of the game. Western Illinois’ bench contributed nine points to the final 92, with freshman forward Jinda Guidinger not able to score in the matchup.

Redshirt junior Annabel Graettinger led the team in scoring dropping 28 on the Bulldogs. Graettinger had eight for 12, while dropping two three-pointers in the process. She also recorded four rebounds and three assists on the day.

Closely behind Graettinger in scoring was senior guard Taylor Higginbotham who had eight for 17 with three, three-pointers for a grand total of 21 points for the day. Higginbotham pulled double-double duty recording 12 rebounds (three offensive, nine defensive) on top of her 21 points.

Western Illinois’ hosts another exhibition game this Thursday at Western Hall against the William Jewell Cardinals. Tip off is set for 5:30 p.m.

The Leathernecks open up the regular season next Tuesday, as they face off against Power-5 team the University of Missouri Tigers at Western Hall. The tip off for that matchup is set for 8 p.m.

Mizzou was 24-8 overall last season and saw wins against schools such as the University of Illinois, the University of Alabama and Ole Miss. The Purple and Gold will need all the support they can get at this season opener.