Iowa Wesleyan?s women?s basketball team took on Blackburn College Saturday afternoon in the final conference game of 2017. First year head coach Jack Bruns and the Tigers picked up their first win after defeating the Beavers 61-59.
In the first quarter of play, both teams took a little while to get their offenses going. The score was tied on three different occasions before Blackburn hit a three pointer with 4:07 to go up 11-8. Iowa Wesleyan?s defense kept the Beavers close, and Darby Massner was finally able to put the Tigers ahead with a three pointer of her own. IW would end the quarter leading 16-11 after Massner hit another three with just over a minute remaining.
Iowa Wesleyan built off the momentum from the first half, and extended their lead to ten points with nine minutes remaining in the second half. The Tigers largest lead of the half came off a three- pointer by Josie Zerrusen, which brought the score to 28-17 with 4:49 remaining. Blackburn did not give in, and they were able to cut the lead to five points with under a minute to play in the first half. Caitlyn Welch answered for IW, however, and Iowa Wesleyan took a three-point lead into the break.
The Tiger offense came out of the halftime break in attack mode. Iowa Wesleyan scored all of their points in the third quarter from the free throw line. With six minutes remaining in the quarter, Josie Zerrusen hit a pair of free throws to give the Tigers a 40-30 lead. IW led by as many as 12 points, but Blackburn was able to cut the deficit to six points before the quarter ended.
Iowa Wesleyan tried to build a cushion at the start of the fourth quarter, and it looked like they would be able to. They extended their lead to nine points with a layup by Zerrusen with 6:49 remaining, the Beavers had other plans. Blackburn?s offense went on a run late in the quarter and tied the game up at 53-53 with two and a half minutes to go. The score would end up tied once more before the Tigers were able to take the lead for good after a pair of free throws by Allie Massner. Blackburn would threaten to regain the lead, but Iowa Wesleyan would hang on for the 61-59 victory.
Despite being outrebounded 43-35, the Tigers used an advantage at the free throw line to secure the win. Josie Zerrusen led all scorers with 23 points after going 6-13 shooting from the field and 10-14 from the free throw line. Darby Massner added 18 points with two three points for the Tigers.
Iowa Wesleyan will have one more game before the break. They will travel to Nebraska Wesleyan on Monday, December 18 for a 6 p.m. non-conference contest. The Tigers are 1-9 overall this season and 1-2 in conference play.