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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 12, 2017

Iowa Wesleyan women fall in home opener

Nov 20, 2017
Photo by: MPN photo by Andy Krutsinger Ellie Lower drives baseline during the first half of Iowa Wesleyan’s home opener on Saturday.

By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News

 

The Iowa Wesleyan women started off hot in their home opener on Saturday against Graceland University, but the Tigers couldn’t quite hold off the fast-paced Yellow Jackets in a 75-66 loss.

After six quick Graceland points, Tiger sharpshooter Darby Massner took over the first quarter. She tied the game at 6-6 with back-to-back threes and eventually capped off an 11-point Tiger run with a third make from outside.

Graceland cut the lead to 11-10 midway through the first quarter but Massner sprung open again and hit her fourth three-pointer of the period.

IW held onto a slim lead for the rest of the quarter. The Yellow Jackets cut the lead back to two points on two different occasions, but the Tigers ended the period with 18-14.

Graceland’s aggressive pressure defense was too much for the Tigers early in the second quarter. The Yellow Jackets scored nine straight points to start the period and took a 23-18 lead.

Massner’s fifth made three-pointer in five tries cut the lead to 23-21 with 6:23 remaining in the half, but Graceland stretched the lead back to eight points at 31-23.

IW went on a 7-1 run to cut the lead back to two points, at 32-30, thanks in part to five-straight points from Allie Massner, but the Yellow Jackets scored once more to take a 34-30 lead into halftime.

The third quarter was all Graceland. The Yellow Jackets scored the first seven points of the third quarter to open up their first double-digit lead, at 41-30. Graceland held a double-digit lead for most of the period and the Tigers trailed 58-44 after three periods.

The Tigers battled back in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to single digits, thanks in part to a late jumper by Josie Zerrusen and a couple of free throws from Lastella Slack in the final seconds, but time ran out and IW walked out with a nine-point loss.

“I was proud of the way the girls battled,” said Tiger head coach Jack Bruns after the game. “We didn’t play 100 percent to our potential tonight, but I was proud of the way they(responded to) adversary.”

D. Massner finished 8-15 from the field and 5-7 from the three-point line for 24 points. She also added eight rebounds and co-led the team with three assists and one steal.

Slack finished the game one rebound away from a double-double, with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Hunter Clark had 10 points, six rebounds, two blocks and a steal.

Ellie Lower scored nine points in the loss, going 7-8 from the free throw line. A. Massner scored eight points and Zerrusen finished with five points and three assists.

The Tigers fell to 0-2 with the loss, but Coach Bruns said the team has been making leaps of improvement early in the season.

“I’m very blessed to have the type of girls who are willing to compete, don’t give up and have that “never say die” attitude,” Bruns said. “I’m really excited for where we can be at the end of the year with this group.”

IW will be back in action in Waverly on Tuesday, Nov. 21, at 6 p.m., when they take on Wartburg College. The Tiger women won’t be back at home until mid-December.

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