The Washburn women’s basketball team led by a dozen on several occasions but was unable to fully put Rockhurst away, resulting in a tie game with 27 seconds left
Denesia Smith rebounded a missed 3-pointer by Reagan Phelan and was fouled with 10 seconds remaining. The junior guard made both free throws to put WU ahead 64-62, and Axelle Bernard forced an off-balance shot at the last second to preserve a win Friday at Lee Arena.
The Ichabods (4-0) led by 12 in each of the final three quarters, including a 62-50 lead with 2:45 left in the fourth. But Jillian Myers, who led all scorers with 21, hit two 3-pointers in a 45-second span to spark a 12-0 Rockhurst run and even the score.
WU’s willingness to share the ball led to perfection in one statistical category – 22 assists on 22 field goals – but also contributed to its struggles, as Rockhurst (1-1) came away with 20 turnovers.
“We turned it over just to turn it over,” said WU coach Ron McHenry. “We couldn’t catch. We just turned it over too many times.
“Out in transition, we were pretty good, but they outrebounded us down the stretch. Their work on the offensive glass gave them a chance to win the game, honestly.”
Early foul trouble for three of WU’s starters also contributed to the inability to pull away. Phelan, who entered the game with a 16.3-point scoring average, played just four minutes in the first half and had two points on 0-for-8 shooting.
Alexis McAfee and Bernard, the Bods’ starting center, also had two fouls in the first half and sat for most of the second quarter.
WU’s bench, which saw plenty of action in an 86-point rout in the Bods’ home opener, was pressed into action again, this time out of necessity, and helped keep the Hawks from ever taking the lead after 2-0.
“Depth was a big part of the win tonight,” McHenry said. “There’s no doubt about it. They had to buy us some minutes. We had to fight through early foul trouble and use a different point guard for most of the first half, but we have enough depth to be able to do that.”
Freshman Mackenzie Loe scored WU’s first six points and led the Bods in scoring with 16.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” the Shawnee Mission West product said of her early offensive contributions, “but I have to do what I do. If the team needs it, that’s what I’ll do.”
In addition to being WU’s only player with more than eight points, Loe also logged her first double-double with 10 rebounds.
Madeline Ronshausen scored 16 points for Rockhurst.
WU will stay at home for games next Friday and Saturday against St. Cloud State and Truman State in the Parrish Hotel Thanksgiving Classic.