Oskaloosa–The Statesmen women’s basketball team slowed down NAIA Division II #7 Briar Cliff, but could not find enough offense for a huge upset in a 63-46 season-opening setback Thursday.
After a rough start that saw the home crew fall behind 8-0 and then 12-1, WPU (0-1) climbed its way back into it to tie the Chargers (1-0) at 18-18 after the initial 10-minute quarter.
The navy and gold actually managed to claim the lead at 22-21, but the edge was short-lived. The visitors eventually led 36-30 at the break and never led by less than a half dozen the remainder of the matchup. The Statesmen’s biggest bane was its lack of ball control, committing 34 turnovers, while forcing BCU into 18 giveaways.
William Penn was outshot 41.5%-32.0%, but hit the glass hard with a 45-36 advantage, led by a game-high 12 rebounds from newcomer Vashti Nwagbaraocha (Fr., Milwaukee, Wis.). The freshman just missed a double-double by also scoring nine points.
Kadejah Young (Minneapolis, Minn., Physical Education) guided the home team with 13 points off the bench, while Alyssa Phillips (Jr., Gurnee, Ill., Communications) had six points. Destiny Spinner (Saginaw, Mich., Biology) and Tyra Johnson (Fr., Calumet City, Ill.) both contributed five points.
Spinner and Young dished out three assists apiece and Young also stole two passes.
“I am extremely happy with the way our team played tonight,” New Head Coach Willie Scott said. “We really stayed within our system, but unfortunately we still have a few key players injured, forcing us to play our freshmen a volume of minutes without a break. Everyone played together and never quit.”
“These non-conference games will help us get past the butterflies and relax,” Scott said. “I really like our chances once we get to conference play.”
“On a side note, Alyssa Phillips had a wild day, driving to and from Chicago today to get cleared to play,” Scott added. “She showed up just before tipoff and after being sidelined for the last three weeks with a rare heart condition, she played with, well, a lot of heart.”
Next Up: William Penn will remain in Oskaloosa Friday to host NAIA D-II #1 and defending national champion Morningside in non-conference action at 5:30 p.m.
Story provided by Wade Steinlage