PELLA, Iowa - Westminster women's basketball tallied a close victory over Central (Iowa), the first time in program history the Blue Jays took a win over the Dutch.
Westminster starts the season 2-1 in nonconference play.
"I think it is a really good sign when you can not play particiularly well, not shoot well, and on the road still find a way to win," said Westminster Head Coach James Arnold. "We showed some toughness tonight."
The Dutch tied it up at 10 points after Westminster went on a scoring drought of over two minutes, but kept their lead with a three-pointer from Kendal Miller. Westminster added two more three-pointers from Makayla Jackson and Rei Immamura to tally threes in back-to-back-to-back scores, taking a 19-10 lead to close out the first quarter.
Abbie Reece and Johnson hit two opening layups in the second quarter to take the first double-digit lead of the game, but an 8-0 run from Central put the Dutch back within four.
In the final minute of the half, Central pulled within two points, but Johnson hit two layups to close out the half and give Westminster the 34-28 lead.
Adams hit a jump shot followed by Kalle Dowler hitting two freethrows to give the Blue Jays back the double-digit lead in the opening minutes of the third quarter. The Blue Jays went on a three-minute scoring drought paired with five points from Central to allow the Dutch back within single digits. The Dutch pulled back within two points, but Immamura sunk a three-pointer at the 3:36 mark of the third quarter to retain the Westminster lead.
The Dutch scored three points in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter to pull them within one point, the smallest Westminster lead since the tie game in the first quarter. Another Blue Jay scoring dought along with three straight layups from Kendal Brown of Central gave the Dutch their first lead since the opening minutes of the game at 54-53 with just over two minutes to play.
"I was really worried that if we ever gave up a lead, then we wouldn't be able to get it back, but the ladies showed some resiliency and found way," said Arnold. "Kendal Brown is one of the best posts I've ever coached against at any level, she really gave us trouble tonight."
After three lead changes, Dowler made a layup with 32 seconds left to put Westminster up 59-56. Miller secured two freethrows with nine seconds remaining to make the game a two-possession game and locking in the victory for the Blue Jays, even with the Dutch hitting the final layup to make the final score 61-58.
Johnson recorded her second straight double double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Abbie Reece was also in double figures with 13.
"MJ continues to show why she is a Player of the Year candidate," said Arnold. "It was also nice to see some other folks step up too, with Jackson hitting a big jumper, Miller hitting some big freethrows, and Rei making a big three."
Westminster takes the Thanksgiving holiday off, returning to Fulton and the Historic Gym for the home-opener Nov. 26. The game is the rescheduled game against Kansas Christian, with tipoff set for 5 p.m.
"This is a great way to go into break and we all have a chance to relax, rest, and see our family and friends," said Arnold. "We have a big week of three games when we return."