Fulton, Mo 2/9/2022- The Westminster College women's basketball team faced off against the Greenville University Panthers in their second to last home game of the season. The Blue Jays were looking to get back into the win column after a narrow loss this past Saturday. The Panthers were game tonight. However, the Blue Jays' balanced offensive attack carried them to an 87-75 victory. The win brings Westminster to 13-9 overall for the season and 9-2 in the SLIAC.
Westminster had five different players score in double figures, led by junior forward Avylina Powell-Qualo (Republic, Mo. / Republic), who scored 21 points on 9-13 shots and went 3-5 from the free-throw line. Powell-Qualo wasted no time getting the Blue Jays on the board, scoring on a driving layup eight seconds after the opening tip. On the next possession, Reese Arnold (Lonedell, Mo. / Washington) would score three of her 13 points on a spot-up three-pointer, putting the Jays up five in the early going. That lead would balloon up to eleven after an Olivia Hixson (Neosho, MO / Neosho) layup brought the quarter to a close, 27-18.
The Panthers cut the lead to six points, with 6:16 remaining in the second quarter. The next Blue Jay possession, Shelby Kurtz (Camdenton, Mo. / Camdenton), would answer with a three, bringing the lead back to nine. After a Panther missed shot, Arnold would score on a backdoor cut and catch a pretty pass from Madison Schaeffer (Cincinnati, Ohio / Fairfield). Arnold got fouled on the basket. She made the free throw, giving Westminster a twelve-point lead. Greenville would not go away after cutting the deficit to nine points on a pair of free throws. Kurtz would make her second three of the quarter at the 1:13 mark, giving her team another twelve-point lead in the quarter. The Panthers would strike from the free-throw line again and be down 10 points, heading into halftime. 46-36.
The Blue Jays started the second half on a mission, going on a six to zero run, giving themselves a sixteen-point lead. Unfortunately, it would not last for very long, as Greenville immediately came back with a six-point run of their own. Both teams would battle back and forth for the rest of the third period. Powell-Qualo scored at the buzzer on a last-second layup, and Westminster would head into the fourth and final quarter leading the Greenville Panthers 65-56.
The Jays would once again start the quarter strong. Expanding their lead after Kurtz would bury her third and final three-pointer of the game with 5:09 left to play. Her shot would give Westminster a 17-point advantage. The largest of the game. Greenville, to their credit, continued to play hard until the final buzzer. When the dust settled, the Blue Jays would come away with a 12-point victory, 87-75.
Powell-Qualo tied a game-high in points scoring 21, Kurtz scored 17, and went 3-6 from behind the arc. Arnold notched 13 points, Annette Ramirez (Sarcoxie, MO / Sarcoxie) played great off the bench, going 4-4 from the free-throw line and 3-5 from the field, leading to 11 points. Schaeffer chipped in 10 points of her own and showed off her passing skills, recording a team-high six assists.
Westminster dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Panthers 39-27, which led to 19-second chance points. The Blue Jays also were very active on defense, forcing 22 Panther turnovers, leading to 31 points.
The women's basketball will play again on Saturday, February 12th. They travel to Louisville, Kentucky, and go up against the Spalding University Golden Eagles. That game will tip-off at 2:00 p.m., Fulton time.