Fulton, Mo. – The Westminster College Blue Jay women's basketball team opened the home portion of their schedule tonight with a dominant performance in Historic Gym. The Blue Jays shot 45.8% from the field, 40.0% from the three-point line and 81.3% from the free throw line in route to an 89-59 victory over the Illinois College Lady Blues. It was Westminster's second win over the Lady Blues in the past three days.
The first quarter got under way and the teams traded baskets early on as each team settled into the game. Westminster led 10-9 with 5:30 left to play in the quarter. The Blue Jays would make a move to put some distance between them and the Lady Blues. A steal and lay-up by Kallee Dowler got things started. Avylina Powel-Qualo picked off an Illinois College pass and found Reese Arnold in transition for a three to extend the lead to 15-9. After an Illinois College bucket, it was Dowler again only this time from three to make it 18-11. Another Lady Blue basket drew the visitors within 18-13 but the Blue Jays had answer. Makayla Jackson ripped in a big offensive rebound off a Dowler miss and put it back for a 20-13 lead. On the next possession Dowler hit a pull up 15-foot jumper while getting fouled. That hoop and the subsequent free-throw gave the hosts their first double figure lead of the night. The Jays closed out the quarter up 25-15.
The second quarter was more of the same for the Blue Jays. There was 5:43 to go before halftime with Westminster leading 32-20 when Jackson scored from inside. A steal and a lay-up by Arnold was answered by Illinois College on back to back buckets to bring the score to 36-24. Arnold was just warming up. She drilled a three on the next possession and then made a mid-range jumper to go up 41-24. Dowler would then give Westminster it's biggest lead at that point with a three to push the lead to 20. The Blue Jays would never look back closing out the second quarter to lead 50-33 at the half.
The second half saw the Blue Jays extend their lead to as many as 30 points as they cruised to the victory. Westminster was led by the stellar efforts of their two returning all-conference guards as Arnold and Dowler would combine for 48 points. Arnold had a game high 28 and Dowler scored 20 including going 5-8 from three. Powel-Qualo recorded her first double double for the Blue Jays finishing with a career high 18 points and career high 11 rebounds. Madison Schaeffer would also contribute her second straight double figure rebounding game with ten rebounds.
The Blue Jays took advantage of 17 Lady Blues turnovers in order to outscore Illinois College 26-4 off of those turnovers. The Jays also outscored Illinois College 38-28 in the paint and outrebounded the taller Lady Blues 37-35.
The Blue Jays will get the next nine days to get ready to open SLIAC play. Westminster will welcome SLIAC foe Fontbonne University to Historic Gym on Saturday February 27th for a 1:00 p.m. tip off to begin conference play.