By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News
The Iowa Wesleyan women were rocking and rolling during the first half of Wednesday night?s conference matchup with Fontbonne University, but a second-half rush from the Griffins left the Tigers with a 56-54 loss.
IW was on fire in the first quarter. The Tiger backcourt seemed unguardable throughout the first eight minutes, outscoring the Griffins 26-15. The Tigers stretched their lead to 38-23 at halftime and had a seemingly comfortable lead.
The Griffins, however, were not going down without a fight. Fontbonne?s defense tightened up in the third period and IW was only able to muster three points in the quarter. The Griffins had their best period, putting up 24 points and all of the sudden it was Fontbonne who led, 47-41 after three quarters.
The Tigers battled back in the fourth period but couldn?t quite tie the game up. IW cut the lead to 53-52 on a basket by LaStella Slack with 12 seconds remaining. Fontbonne made one of two free throws and fouled Ahlia Tai on the rebound. Tai was unable to make either free throw and Fontbonne?s Kaitlynn Walker sealed the deal with two free throws in the final ticks. Caitlyn Welch did end the game with a jumper but the Tigers had no time left to foul.
After the game, head coach Jack Bruns said his team was worn down in the second half, noting the squad has battled illness in the days leading up to this game.
?Tonight we were playing at like 60 percent,? Bruns said. ?We?ve had so many girls sick the last few days, I just think we were gassed. Defensively we weren?t great, but even offensively we just seemed out of sync. But so proud of the girls the way they battled in that fourth quarter.?
Darby Massner had a nice game, scoring 16 points and pulling down 11 rebounds for a double-double. She also led the team with three steals and co-led the squad with three assists.
Allie Massner scored 11 points and dished out three assists of her own. Welch had 11 points as well, including three makes from down town. Josie Zerrusen had nine points, eight rebounds and three assists. Tai finished with five points and Slack had two.
The Tiger women fell to 2-12 overall and 2-4 in conference play with the loss. They will look to bounce back on Saturday, Jan. 13, when they take on Eureka College on the road.