Tiger women crush MacMurray in SLIAC opener
BY ANDY KRUTSINGER
Mt. Pleasant News
Conference play started out on the right foot for the Iowa Wesleyan women’s basketball team.
The Tigers crushed the Highlanders of MacMurray in the second half of Wednesday’s game to pick up their first SLIAC win by a whopping 43 points, winning 79-36.
The two teams punched back and forth throughout the first period and were tied, 16-16 after the first period.
IWU started to pull away late in the second quarter. The Tigers led, 22-20, with 2:45 left in the half. Ahlia Tai scored a couple points in the paint and Jaimie Hurd closed the period out with five straight points as IWU stretched their lead to 29-20 at the break.
The Tigers took their first double-digit lead on a shot by LaStella Slack early in the third quarter. IWU continued to pull away in the quarter and led, 52-33 after three quarters.
IWU continued the blowout in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Highlanders 27-3 to put the first SLIAC game in the win column.
“It feels great to get the first conference win, especially at home,” said IWU head coach Steve Williamson after the game. “I thought we played really hard in the second half. We struggled at first in the first half, but (in the) second half we played great defense, which led to some easy baskets on offense.”
The Tigers were led in scoring by point guard Hurd, who scored 20 points on 6-9 from the field, 7-8 from the line and 1-1 from down town. She also co-led the team with three assists, and added four steals.
After the game, Coach Williamson talked about Hurd’s transition into becoming a point guard and filling in for graduated senior Rachel Williams, who led the team last season.
“Jaimie Hurd has had an awesome season for us,” he said. “Totally different player than she was last year. She stepped into a role (where), she’s not really a point guard, but she accepted that role and she’s done a great job.”
Cairece Allen scored 19 points in the win and was fantastic from the free throw line, going a perfect 10-10. She also led the team in rebounds, with 11, and added three assists and three steals.
LaStella Slack scored 13 points in the win and led the Tigers with five steals. Allie Massner scored 11 points. Tai had seven. Josie Zerrusen scored six, and Darby Massner had three points and 10 rebounds.
The Tigers went to 2-4 overall and 1-0 in conference play with the win. They’ll hit the road to face Blackburn College in their next game, on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 1 p.m. Blackburn is 0-1 in SLIAC play with an 81-39 loss to Eureka College.
Williamson said after the game that the Tigers still have a lot to improve on and that the team is still looking to make up from the points that were lost from last season’s seniors.
“When you lose 90 percent of your scoring, it’s tough,” Williamson said. “Right now, everybody knows who Darby Massner is, and she’s a great shooter and they’re trying to take her out. I’m happy to see other people step up, but we still have to find other ways to get Darby open and ger her some more shots.”