Missouri Western women’s basketball team held off a late comeback attempt by MIAA rival Missouri Southern on Thursday evening. A 15-point second half lead fell to just a four-point lead in the final minutes, as the Griffons pulled out the victory by a score of 69-57.
The Griffons grabbed an eight-point lead going into the break thanks to an 18-point first half performance by Katrina Roenfeldt, who finished with a game-high 28 points. This big scoring outburst had a lot to do with Roenfeldt’s confidence.
“I have confidence on my shooting because we work on it everyday,” Roenfeldt said. “I also have confidence because I know if I miss it, my teammates are going to get the rebound and put it back up. So I am confident on both ends.”
Roenfeldt’s outside shooting was a huge help, as she went four of eight from downtown and was the only Griffon to make a 3-pointer. The team was a combined 4-15 from the 3-point line.
“She had the whole game going tonight, especially that step back on the threes. That’s hard to guard,” coach Edmisson said. “I could tell she was locked in from the beginning. She played very well and was a big part of this win.”
Coming out to start the second half, Western’s defensive press was active and all over the place. They went on a 7-0 run by forcing four turnovers in the first two minutes of the third quarter.
“Our defense creates a lot of our offense,” Edmisson said. “If we can stay in a defensive aggressive mode and get easy buckets, then we play well.”
Although Western came out of the break strong, Missouri Southern didn’t go away. Behind senior guard Chelsea Henry’s 20 points and three steals, they cut the lead down to 57-61 with 1:10 remaining.
“The problem was we quit scoring and we couldn’t press. As long as we were able to press, we were able to score. We’re going to ride it out for the rest of the year that way by being more reliant on our defense,” Edmisson said.
This win took Western’s record above .500, and are now sitting at 10-9 after coming off of back-to-back road losses, making their season road record 1-5. Getting back into Looney Complex was a big help, according to junior guard Simone Walker.
“I think just the energy from the crowd was so helpful,” Walker said. “They are always cheering us on and helping us get the win.”
Walker, who started for the first time this season, ended with 14 points, four rebounds and three blocks. Western looks to keep up the good play at home as they host Pittsburg State this Saturday afternoon.