The first home loss of the season for the women’s basketball team proved the importance of free throw shooting as the Griffons fell 56-53.
The Griffons shot just over 58 percent from the free throw line in the game, connecting on 14-24 shots.
Western jumped out to an early lead with five straight points from Kallie Schoonover to give the Griffons the advantage. The lead swelled to eight with 11:26 to play in the first half.
UCM would cut the lead to 22-21 with just over five minutes remaining in the half, but the Griffons would finish the half on a 9-7 run to take a 31-28 lead into halftime.
The Jennies gained their first lead of the game four minutes into the second half. Western would battle back and make the game close, but down the stretch free throws would make the difference.
Turnovers and second chance points were the other two factors leading to the Griffons downfall in the game. Western committed 19 turnovers as well as 16 offensive rebounds.
“We would shut them out on the first shot and then let them get a rebound and then they would put it in,” Rachel Luteyn said. “We just needed to do a better job of boxing out and taking away those second chance points.”
The second half remained close as the Griffons traded baskets with the Jennies until it came down to the final possession. The Griffons were down by three points with seconds left to play when coach Lynn Plett called a timeout and huddled his team around him to get one final play together.
The pass was thrown to Jessica Koch, who immediately looked for an open teammate but couldn’t find one. She was forced into a rushed shot that came up short as two UCM defenders came up with the block to end the game.
“The last play definitely didn’t go the way we planned it. Jess didn’t have anywhere to go with the ball and she had to force it up,” Plett said.