Fulton, Mo 2/5/2022- The Westminster women's basketball team went to battle against the undefeated Webster University Gorloks with a share of first place in the SLIAC on the line Saturday afternoon. The game was tight from start to finish. You could feel the tension in the air inside the Historic Gymnasium until the final horn sounded. Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, they would go down in defeat 89-81. The loss snaps a six-game winning streak and brings Westminster to 12-9 overall on the season and 8-2 in the SLIAC. The two conference losses come at the hands of Webster, who swept the season series between the two teams.
The Blue Jays got off to a slow start, falling into an early deficit of 14-6 midway through the opening quarter. Avylina Powell-Qualo (Republic, Mo. / Republic) got her team jump-started with a steal, and the Jays would rally back. They cut the Gorlok lead to just two points off a Reese Arnold (Lonedell, Mo. / Washington) leaning bank shot with 3:55 on the clock. Webster would respond and stretch the lead back up to nine points two different times, near the end of the quarter. The Blue Jays would score two baskets in the last thirty seconds to bring the first quarter to a close, 29-23. The Gorloks Addison Beussink scored 15 of her 23 points in the first quarter.
The Blue Jays got the Gorlok press figured out in the second quarter. After breaking the press, the ball got down low to forward Madison Schaeffer (Cincinnati, Ohio / Fairfield), who drew a double team and showed off her passing skills finding a wide-open Arnold at the top of the key who knocked down a three. The next possession, Powel-Qualo, forced another steal that led to an Arnold stop and pop mid-range jumper bringing the Jays within one point. Westminster would take the lead on a pair of Schaffer free throws with 5:48 remaining in the second quarter. The margin would grow to seven, with 1:25 to go in the half. Webster would hit a three with a minute left, then score a layup off a full-court pass with one second on the clock. The first half ended with Westminster leading Webster 49-47.
The third quarter saw the Blue Jays lose the lead as the Gorloks went on a 10-3 run. Webster would have an eight-point advantage at the 3:15 mark, 63-55. Westminster continued to battle, and Arnold scored six points in a row for the Blue Jays to end the quarter down just four at 65-61.
Four points. That was the closest Westminster would get to taking the lead back. Webster had a 13-point lead at various points throughout the fourth quarter. The Blue Jays cut it to five with thirty seconds left. It would be too little too late, as they would go down to Webster with a final score of 89-81.
The Blue Jays had four players score in double figures. Arnold led the team with 31, Schaffer scored 17, Shelby Kurtz (Camdenton, Mo. / Camdenton) had 14, and Annette Ramirez (Sarcoxie, MO / Sarcoxie) dropped in 10 points coming off the bench.
The Westminster women's basketball team will be back in action on Wednesday, February 9th. They play at home against the Greenville Panthers. The game will tip off at 5:30 p.m. inside the Historic Gym.