(Oskaloosa, Iowa) –Vashti Nwagbaraocha (Jr., Milwaukee, Wis., Exercise Science) reached a major milestone Wednesday in helping the William Penn women’s basketball team to an 89-47 Heart of America Athletic Conference victory over Peru State.
WPU (18-5, 12-2 Heart) has now won a season-high five games in a row, the longest streak for the program since taking six straight during the 2012-2013 campaign. The win helps the navy and gold keep pace with MidAmerica Nazarene and Central Methodist at the top of the league standings. It also sets up a colossal matchup with #5 MNU on Saturday in Olathe, Kan. (2 p.m. tipoff).
The start of Wednesday’s battle was all about Nwagbaraocha as she entered just 10 points away from 1,000 for her career. It fortunately did not take long for the junior to get the job done as she made four of her first five baskets, all in the first quarter. With 2:50 still left in the opening period, point #1,000 was recorded as Nwagbaraocha knocked down the first of two free throws.
Nwagbaraocha, who tallied 11 first-quarter points and finished with 20 points, becomes the 23rd player in school history to join the 1,000-point club. She had 304 points as a freshman, 345 as a sophomore, and has 361 so far this year (currently at 1,010).
Also of special note, Nwagbaraocha surpassed 700 career rebounds Wednesday (currently at 704) and becomes just the 10th Statesmen ever to record 1,000 points and 700 rebounds.
Back to action, it was not only Nwagbaraocha who had a huge night against the Bobcats (3-19, 0-14 Heart). All five starters were excellent in their own way as WPU pulled out to a 25-6 edge after 10 minutes of play.
The Statesmen have had issues in the second quarter lately, but managed to top PSC Wednesday, outscoring the visiting crew 20-18 to extend their advantage to 45-24 at halftime.
The hosts did not slow down after intermission in rolling past Peru State, highlighted by being +18 in the turnover battle (WPU had 12 errors, while PSC had 30). That led to a gaudy 36-3 edge in points off turnovers for the victors.
William Penn outshot the visitors 49.2%-42.1% and also held a 31-25 mark in rebounds; the Statesmen outscored the Bobcats 14-3 in second-chance points.
While Nwagbaraocha was stellar down low, going 7-for-9 from the field (6-for-8 FT), Sarah Hansen (Sr., Kewanee, Ill., Psychology) was the game leader in points with 26. The senior was 8-for-16 overall, including finishing 6-for-12 from the perimeter.
The Statesmen not only lived from deep, but they lived well, making a season-high 15 trifectas on 48.4% shooting.
Kate Ylitalo (So., Maple Plain, Minn., Biology) added 17 points, but did much more damage on the defensive end, especially in the first half with seven steals. She ended the win with eight thefts, while William Penn stole 19 passes as a collective unit.
Jenna Santi (Jr., Oak Creek, Wis., Sports Management) was next with eight points and had a tremendous effort as a distributor with 10 assists; the Statesmen managed 24 assists on their 30 made buckets.
Sham Troupe (Jr., St. Louis, Mo.) contributed seven points and was WPU’s top rebounder with 10 caroms. The junior was especially active on the offensive glass with seven boards.
“I am happy with our defensive effort tonight and the way we shared the ball on offense,” Head Coach Steve Williamson said. “It is always good when you have 20 or more assists as a team.”
William Penn Dominates Second Half to Avenge Loss to Peru State
(Oskaloosa, Iowa)– The Statesmen men’s basketball team bounced back from a rare home loss and also avenged its only other setback of the season by crushing Peru State 110-79 in Heart of America Athletic Conference play Wednesday.
#1 WPU (22-2, 12-2 Heart) shot 61.5% in the second half and scored 61 points after intermission to start a new home winning streak; the previous streak of 37 was snapped last Saturday. Wednesday’s win puts PSC (16-9, 10-4 Heart) two games back of the navy and gold in the North Division, while fellow North foe Graceland is also now two back after falling to Clarke. Central Methodist is currently the only program within one game of the Statesmen for the Heart lead.
The Bobcats, who knocked off William Penn back in December, came ready to play and owned its biggest lead of nine at 21-12 just 6:57 into the evening.
The home squad slowly started to warm up, but was still down 41-38 with 2:45 left in the opening period. WPU closed strong, though, with an 11-4 run and was on top 49-45 at intermission.
The contest was still a tight one at the 15:27 mark with the Statesmen ahead just 56-52, but the hosts pulled away with a 15-0 run over the next 2:29. Aakim Saintil (Sr., West Orange, N.J., Business Management) took over during the run by scoring 11 of his 12 total points, highlighted by a trio of three-pointers. William Penn made 11 long balls Wednesday.
The advantage grew to a game-high 33 points in the waning minutes as the victors finished with a 57.0%-36.0% shooting margin.
As per the norm this winter, the Statesmen were balanced offensively with seven players hitting the double-digit mark. Terrell Thompson (Sr., Indianapolis, Ind., Wellness and Recreation) scored 20 points, but was also an efficient distributor with 11 assists for a double-double.
Dominique Shaw (Sr., Lufkin, Texas, Wellness and Recreation) was next with 17 points, while D’Angelo Allen (Jr., Dallas, Texas, Wellness and Recreation) topped the bench with 16 points. The duo combined for another 11 assists as the navy and gold assisted 35 times on their 45 made baskets.
JC Washington (Sr., Houston, Texas, Sociology) matched Thompson with a double-double, scoring 13 points and pulling down 16 rebounds. The hosts won the rebounding battle 54-42, but were actually outscored 14-12 in second-chance points.
Conversely, WPU had three more turnovers (13-10), but were eight better (16-8) than PSC in points off turnovers. William Penn also overcame a sub-par effort at the charity stripe (9-for-20).
Mikeal Donaldson (Sr., Columbia, S.C.) and Corbin Medley (Sr., Rogersville, Mo., General Accounting) reached double figures as well with 10 points apiece, while Antonio Foster (Jr., Chicago, Ill., Sports Management), with seven points, and Brandon Trotter (Sr., Louisville, Ky., Kinesiology), with five points, also contributed Wednesday.
“I am extremely happy with our team having 35 assists on 45 made baskets,” Head Coach John Henry said. “We played an excellent second half.”
Next Up: William Penn travels to Olathe, Kan. Saturday to face MidAmerica Nazarene in Heart action at 4 p.m.
This article was written by Wade Steinlage, Sports Information Director, William Penn University.