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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | May 25, 2018

Tiger women surge past Highlanders late

Jan 18, 2018
Photo by: Andy Krutsinger Caitlyn Welch lines up a three-pointer during Iowa Wesleyan’s win over MacMurray on Wednesday night.

By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News

 

The Iowa Wesleyan women traded punches all game long against MacMurray on Wednesday night, and in the end it was the Tigers who scored the knockout. IW trailed by three points to start the fourth quarter but a 19-point period helped them spike a 61-58 win.

The Tigers exploded out of the gate with an 8-0 run to start the game. Darby Massner hit two three-pointers in the first two minutes to give the crowd a taste of what was to come offensively for IW.

MacMurray was able to battle back with an 11-7 run to end the first quarter. The Highlanders got red hot in the second period, putting up 20 points to take a 31-27 lead into the halftime break.

IW stayed hot from beyond the arc in the third quarter. The Tigers began the quarter with a 13-3 run, including back-to-back three-pointers from Caitlyn Welch, which put the Tigers up 40-34 with five minutes left in the quarter.

MacMurray bounced right back with an 11-2 run of their own, however. A three-pointer from Aleysia Mason-Pavia gave the Highlanders a three-point lead at 45-42 with 1:33 remaining and that’s where it would stay until the third-quarter buzzer.

The Highlanders held on to the lead for the first minute and-a-half of the fourth quarter but the Tigers re-took the lead on a three-point lead by D. Massner. After a MacMurray jumpshot made it 50-49 Highlanders, Allie Massner hit a couple of free throws to help the Tigers re-take the lead again, at 51-50, with five minutes left.

Another three-pointer from MacMurray gave the Highlanders back the lead at 53-51 with 4:30 left. A trio of Tiger free throws helped the Tigers fight back to lead 54-53 with 3:02 left, and A. Massner nailed her first three-pointer of the game with 2:15 left to give IW the lead for good.

IW led by four points with a minute left but the Highlanders weren’t going away. MacMurray’s Shelby Fink hit a three with 50 seconds left to cut the lead to one. The two teams traded turnovers and Welch found herself at the line with eight seconds remaining. She calmly sank both to stretch the lead to 61-58 and put the pressure back on MacMurray.

“I believed 100 percent that she was going to hit those,” head coach Jack Bruns said after the game. “She’s a phenomenal clutch player (and) she’s always ready to work and always prepared when we put her in the game.”

The Tiger defense came up with a stop on the other end as the Highlanders’ game-tying three rimmed out, and IW picked up their third conference win of the season.

The two teams combined for 20 three-pointers on the night, 10 apiece. After the win, Bruns talked about bouncing back from MacMurray’s flurry of outside shots.

“I told our girls there is really nothing you can do when players like that shoot like that,” Bruns said. “Fortunately for us, we’ve got a girl named Darby Massner who can do the same thing.”

D. Massner scored 27 points to lead all scorers. She went 9-15 from the field, 5-10 from the three-point line and 4-7 from the charity stripe. Welch was 4-6 from the field, 4-5 from down town and 2-2 from the line en route to a 14-point performance.

LaStella Slack had eight points in the win. Josie Zerrusen had five points, eight rebounds and eight assists. A. Massner finished with five points of her own and Ahlia Tai scored two.

IW held a huge advantage on the free throw line. The Tigers went 15-19 from the charity stripe, while the Highlanders did not get to the line one time in the entire game.

IW moved to 3-13 overall and 3-5 in the conference with the win. They’ll have the weekend off due to Principia not having a women’s team, but the Tiger women will be back home on Wednesday, Jan. 24, when they take on Spalding at 6 p.m.

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