Blue Jays Advance To Championship Game

Picture by Brian Lovellette
Picture by Brian Lovellette

St. Louis, Mo 2/25/2022- The Westminster College women's basketball team traveled to St. Louis on Friday. The Blue Jays faced off against the Greenville University Panthers in the semifinals of the SLIAC Women's Basketball Tournament. The Blue Jays were victorious, beating the Panthers, 75 to 59. They earned the right to defend their SLIAC Tournament title tomorrow night in the championship game! The Blue Jays will play at 7:00 p.m. Saturday at Webster University against the Gorloks.

Corrie Reece (Cape Girardeau, Mo/ Cape Central) nailed a three for the first points of the game. Then, Shelby Kurtz (Camdenton, Mo/ Camdenton) followed up with three of her own. Westminster stormed out to a six-point lead in the opening minutes. Greenville battled back to tie it at 14-14 with 52 seconds left in the quarter. Madison Schaeffer (Cincinnati, Ohio / Fairfield) scored on a drop step to the end of the first quarter, 16-14.

Reese Arnold (Lonedell, Mo. / Washington) hit a three to start the second quarter, and then a steal by Avylina Powell-Qualo (Republic, Mo/ Republic) led to her scoring a coast-to-coast layup. Another Arnold three-pointer extended the lead to eight. The Panthers would answer back, hitting a three with seven minutes left to go in the half and cut the Blue Jay lead down to three. Powell-Qualo scored an offensive rebound put back and drew a foul. She went to the line and knocked down the free throw. She made the score 29-23, with six minutes to go in the quarter. With 3:30 left, Schaeffer pulled in an offensive rebound put back. She got fouled on the shot and made the free throw, giving Blue Jays an eight-point lead. The teams went into halftime with the Blue Jays leading 35-26.

Kurtz had back-to-back steals to start the second half, giving her team a 39-26 lead. Greenville went on a run of their own, cutting the lead back to nine, 3 minutes into the 3rd quarter. Arnold would hit a three, then a steal that led to a Powell-Qualo layup. She gave the Blue Jays a 50-36 lead with 2:18 to go in the third quarter. Powell-Qualo hit a buzzer-beater at the end of the quarter and put the Blue Jays up 59-43.

The Blue Jays shut the door on a Panther come back in the fourth quarter. Powell-Qualo scored back-to-back and 1s at the 5:10 mark of the fourth, putting Westminster up 20 points. The Blue Jays would win 75-59. The Jays advanced to the SLIAC championship game on Saturday!

Arnold led the team with 20 points, Powell-Qualo had 17 and eight rebounds. Schaeffer chipped in 11 points. The Blue Jays went 27 for 75 and 7 for 23 for the three-point arc. They would shoot 14-21 from the free-throw line.

The Blue Jays will take the court at 7:00 p.m. Saturday at Webster University in the SLIAC Women's Basketball Tournament Championship. The Blue Jays will defend its title against the undefeated Gorloks.


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