FULTON, Mo. – It was a classic matchup between Westminster College and Greenville University Saturday afternoon in Historic Gym – hard-fought, high-octane scoring, and a hotly contested battle wire to wire. In the end, the difference was turnovers and a couple of possessions.
Both teams turned the ball over 14 times, however, Greenville was able to convert them into 24 points compared to just 18 for Westminster, in a 90-87 Panther victory in St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action.
"The hustle and effort was there this afternoon," Coach Talisha Washington said. "We just fell short down the stretch; we had a couple closely turnovers, against the number one defensive team in the league you can't have that.
"Every possession counts! We missed a couple opportunities from the line, that hurt us as well."
Both teams shot 46 percent from the field – the Blue Jays 31-68, compared to 30-65 for Greenville – but the Panthers shot 50 percent (10-20) from beyond the arc to just 47 percent for Westminster (11-30). The Blue Jays were outscored in the paint, 32-20, and off the bench, 41-6. Westminster did manage to outscore Greenville, 28-13, in fastbreak points and had a slight edge in rebounds, 34-33. The teams were even in second-chance points with 15 apiece.
Westminster trailed early as the Panthers took a 7-0 lead to open the game. The Blue Jays would pull to within one, 7-6, on a pair of 3-point baskets by Rei Imamura and Mikalyn Callahan. Greenville closed out the period with a 15-12 run to lead after the first quarter, 22-18. In the second, the Panthers built a 10-point lead, 42-32, before Westminster rallied with a 12-7 run to trail at intermission, 49-44.
Westminster would take its first lead of the contest in the third quarter, 52-51, on a Reece Arnold jumper. The Blue Jays continued to build on that lead, taking a 62-57 advantage with 2:23 remaining in the quarter, before the Panthers clawed back to trail by two, 64-62, at the end of the period.
In the fourth, Greenville tied the game, 64-all, on a pair of Hannah Krukewitt free throws. The Panthers would lead by as many as seven, 87-80, midway through the period. Westminster would battle its way back into the contest several times, but couldn't get over the hump before the final buzzer.
"I am proud of how we kept fighting to the end," Washington said. "We just fell short and sometimes that happens. We learn from our mistakes and grow."
Reece Arnold led five Blue Jays in double figures with a game-high 30 points; Kallee Dowler and Callahan each had 15 points. Brittany Lopez led Greenville (11-6; 8-2) with 25 points.
Westminster (6-11; 5-5) returns to action on Wednesday when the Blue Jays travel to Iowa Wesleyan.