By Taylor Rodriguez
After a heated quarter-to-quarter clash against Kansas Wesleyan, the women’s basketball team lost 67-72 late in the fourth quarter of the pink-out game.
Starting strong for the night, proudly wearing breast cancer awareness jerseys, the women charged the court to face off against the KCAC first ranked 18-3 Coyotes.
After an early drive by KW, the Builders were forced into a rebound game to score on the box. After taking an early lead against the Lady Builders, KW lost the lead by the end of the first quarter, 13-12.
Sprinting into the second quarter, there was an exchange of two-point shots by both sides of the court, bringing the score to 21-22, KW ahead.
Destiny Stewart, sophomore guard, was praised by members of the student section for her energy on the court.
Here is what student section member, Nick Roark, athletic training junior, said, “She’s been having a lot of good games. A lot of good shots inside and outside of the paint. I think she is doing really well.”
Having scored 12 of the 67 points, Stewart tied for most individual points scored with starter Ashley Carrillo, junior center.
Following the exciting shots from the field, the Coyotes pulled ahead of the Builders with back to back three-point shots, ending the first half 29 to 35.
After an unfortunate string of turnovers, missed shots and unrecoverable rebounds, the women fell behind going into the second half.
Teresa Nichols, security officer, worked security detail at the game with other members of the security team. When asked about the Lady Builder’s first-half performance, she said, “They made some minor errors, but I don’t wanna say anything bad about my girls. They’re gonna come out in the second half and kick some butt.”
It appears the energy displayed by the women on the court influenced those watching as well. You could feel the buzz of excitement come from the ever-growing student section and Southwestern families in the stands.
That excitement on the court was something that Jazmyne Laskey, senior guard, knew would be beneficial for success on the court.
“Our first half was good. We just knew going into halftime that we need to come out and keep the intensity, if not bring more intensity,” said Laskey.
And more intensity the women did bring.
With strong defensive rebounds by Marissa Evans, senior guard, and assists by Claren McCormick, senior center, Carrillo was able to put up some early second-half 2-pointers to slowly close the score gap.
Although there were still some turnovers, the Lady Builders did well to keep the fire fueled with successful shots by Stewart and Sarah Alsabbaheen, sophomore guard, seven minutes into the third quarter.
Nearing the fourth quarter with 2:36 on the clock, McCormick cleanly stole the ball and rolled down the court for an easy layup.
Within the last minute of the third quarter, there was a frenzied flurry of effective two-pointers from KW, bringing the score 46-56, Builders behind.
Carrying the heat and energy previously built by the Lady Builders into the fourth quarter, the women prevent KW from scoring for the first three minutes.
Despite a sudden burst of defensive fervor, it was not enough to close the gap between Southwestern and Kansas Wesleyan.
Finishing out the last 40 seconds of the fourth quarter with four free throws, KW scores the win over Southwestern 72 – 68.
Although they played an extremely exciting, nail-biting game, some mistakes could have been avoided.
McCormick said, “I think we really went out there and really played our best. A couple of unfortunate turnovers and shots that, you know, we really wish we would’ve rolled in was kind of the difference for the game. Kansas Wesleyan is sitting at the top of our conference and we gave ‘em hell tonight.”
There was an extreme wash of support from the crowd despite the loss. Mike McCoy, athletic director, expressed his feelings of support and admiration for the women.
“They were amazing, I tell ya. Those girls won four games last year. They’ve won 12 games already this year and that team we’re playing tonight was ranked top twenty in the nation. They played very, very well with a lot of effort and a lot of enthusiasm.”
According to Alissa Sheppard, student success advisor, this energy is something the women’s basketball team is known for.
“I feel like they have done amazing this entire year, especially being that they have good juju and good vibes. If they continue to fight as hard as they have been this entire year, they’ll be very successful.”
Despite the loss, everyone seemed to be in good spirits. Nichols summed up the women’s team quite well.
“They are building. They’ve got some good leadership and they’re just gonna continue to build on that every year.”
The women will play against the Bethany Swedes next week at 5:00 p.m., Feb. 19th in Lindsborg, Kan.