Courtesy of Midland Athletics
FREMONT, Neb. – Midland University took the court inside the Wikert Event Center on a Wednesday night for a Great Athletic Plains Conference (GPAC) matchup against No. 18-ranked Briar Cliff University. For the game, the coaches paired up their suits with sneakers and wore ribbons to partake in the annual Coaches vs. Cancer Week which is sponsored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the American Cancer Society. The Warriors battled until the end, falling 71-60 to the Chargers. With the setback, they drop to 3-17 on the year and 1-13 in the GPAC. The victory lifts BCU to 16-5 overall and 12-3 in the conference.
The Warriors took an early advantage with a three-pointer by Kennedy Darner to open up the game’s scoring. The Chargers quickly responded with a jumper as the team went toe-for-toe early on. They traded baskets through the opening minutes, matching each other’s points to bring the game to a tie of 7-7 with just four minutes left to go in the first. Briar Cliff took their first lead of the game as they put up two layups in a row, part of a 7-0 run. Emma Shepard responded with a three-pointer to bring the game back to one point before the Chargers closed the quarter with a 5-2 run to make it 16-12 after ten minutes of play.
With a free-throw point by Erin Foxhall and a three-pointer by Sarah Shepard, the Warriors were able to tie the game early on in the second. After a jumper from the Chargers, which was matched by a jumper from Erin Prusa, BCU went on an 8-0 run to give them some breathing room.
Midland didn’t back down as they battled to bring the game back to a two-point contest after a 4-0 run of their own. The Chargers boosted their lead back up to four points by putting in a layup with six seconds left before the end of the half.
After the intermission, Prusa got the Warriors started with a layup but a rush from the Chargers ensued as they ran their lead up to as many as 12 following back-to-back three-pointers. Their lead rose to 14 by the end of the quarter despite the Warriors’ best effort.
The Chargers opened up the fourth with a three-pointer, cresting their lead at 17 points. Prusa began to put the Warriors’ on her back as she responded with back-to-back baskets and a free throw. She would score 10 of her team-high 22 points in the quarter as Briar Cliff had no answer for her inside.
Briar Cliff was able to respond with shots from behind the arc and successful trips to the foul line. They were able to hold on for the 11-point win, 71-60.
In addition to Prusa’s 22 points, the Warriors got double-digit scoring from Emma Shepard at 16 points. Asia Bryant came off the bench and grabbed a team-high five rebounds while three separate players had two assists (Sarah Shepard, Sam Shepard, and Lexi Kraft).
For the game, Midland shot 24-for-53 (45.3%), while Briar Cliff was 26-for-64 (40.6%). The Chargers’ edge came with eight makes from behind the arc and were 11-for-17 at the free throw line.
“Erin getting into foul trouble in the third quarter hurt us a little bit,” commented head coach Shawn Gilbert. “We considered bringing her back earlier when they got double-digit leads, but if she picks up four, then we’ve got really big problems. Today, the issue was we missed free throws and we missed some bunnies underneath. Offensive rebounds really hurt us as well.”
Midland (3-17, 1-14 GPAC) will look for a better outcome this weekend as they travel to face Doane (12-9, 6-9 GPAC). The Tigers edged the Warriors earlier this season, 89-83, in Fremont. The rematch is scheduled for Saturday, January 28 at 2:00 p.m. in Crete, Nebraska.
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