By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News
The Iowa Wesleyan women had a third-quarter Spalding lead cut down from 18 points down to two in a furious comeback Wednesday night, but the Tigers ran out of energy in the fourth, dropping the game 70-58.
The Tigers had to rebound from a dominant Spalding first quarter. The Golden Eagles were red hot in the first eight minutes, scoring 26 points in the opening period to take a 14-point lead, at 26-12, after one.
The Tiger defense was able to stall the run in the second quarter, but they couldn?t get any offensive traction of their own in an extremely physical period. IW was able to cut the lead by two points by halftime, trailing 33-21.
Spalding built their lead to 18, at 43-25 with 6:30 remaining in the third quarter, but the Tigers were finally able to hit their stride in the next handful of minutes.
Josie Zerrusen hit a jumper that kicked off a 14-0 Tiger run over the course of four minutes. Allie Massner, Darby Massner and Caitlyn Welch each nailed a three-pointer in the run and a free throw from Ahlia Tai made it just a two-point deficit at 45-43 with 19 seconds left in the quarter.
Spalding chopped down the IW momentum in the final ticks of the quarter. Alex Martin nailed a three-pointer with just two seconds left to break the Tiger run and make it a 48-43 Spalding lead after three.
That was as close as IW would make it. The Tigers couldn?t capitalize on the big stretch and Spalding was able to win the fourth quarter, 22-15, to pull out a 12-point win.
Coach Jack Bruns praised the team?s ability to fight back from the big deficit, but said the team needed to bring the same energy early on in the contest.
Zerrusen finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Tigers in the loss. A. Massner had 11 points, and D. Massner was one point away from a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds.
LaStella Slack scored eight points in the game. Tai finished with six points and five assists. Welch ended the night with five points and Emily Hammel had two.
The Tigers dropped to 3-14 overall and 3-6 in SLIAC play with the loss. They?ll take on first-place Greenville University on the road on Saturday, Jan. 27, at 1 p.m.