Women’s basketball bounces back after overtime loss to Mizzou

Olivia+Kaufmann+guards+the+paint

Myanna Perdue

Olivia Kaufmann guards the paint

Michael Harms , Courier Staff

MACOMB, Ill. — The women’s basketball team secured their first win at Western Hall. After dropping a heated contest against SEC opponent Missouri, Western came back home and took on Culver-Stockton to notch their first victory.

It was a slow start for the team, missing their two first shot attempts, and four straight free throws. Stockton took an early seven-point lead, and after a quick two and a half minutes of play, head coach JD Gravina was not happy. He pulled every single starter off the floor and let his bench run the rest of the first quarter.

The team responded well going on a run of their own, creating multiple turnovers and starting the fast break. Stockton then made it a physical game, sending bodies down into the paint to stop Western from getting easy layups, but the fouls starting to pile up. Western was unable to take advantage and went an abysmal 5-12 from the strip in the first half.

The physicality of Western continued into the second quarter. Down 17-14 at the start, Olivia Kauffman led the charge with one goal in mind: get to the basket. That sparked a run for the Leathernecks scoring 10 straight in the paint, six from Kauffman, capped off with an Elizabeth Lutz three-pointer for Western to grab their first lead of the game, 27-26.

Stockton responded themselves with a nine-point run but started to seem sluggish on the defensive end of the ball. The subs of Western came in and roared to life and grabbed a half-time lead, 36-35. With Stockton right on their heels, Western had a tough second half ahead.

Gravina must have given the green light to the shooters at halftime because Western came out looking for big points. Five straight three-point attempts later and Western still found themselves neck and neck with Stockton. The Purple and Gold kept the pace high and the pedal floored as they dominated the third quarter with a 12-3 run, taking the lead for the last time.

The last quarter proved a futile effort for the Wildcats to get back into it. They got the score to within three in the last few seconds, but never saw an opportunity to jump back into the lead. Kauffman ended with a game high 20 points and included seven assists and three steals to go along with her impressive offensive performance. However, it was Sam Pryor off the bench that made the most noise.

After suffering a season long injury last year, Pryor returned to Western Hall in a big way, dropping 11 points from the bench and bringing a spark of offense that was needed many times over the night. The only concern from the team is the free throw shooting. Shooting 53 percent from the charity stripe is a recipe for losing, not winning. Now Gravina has a better idea of how to prepare his team moving forward. Their next game is on Tuesday against Illinois-Springfield.