TOPEKA, Kan. — On a night when their dominant post players combined for 12 turnovers, the Missouri Western Griffons relied on a stout defense for their first win in Lee Arena in four years.
Western held Washburn to its lowest point total of the year, forcing 16 turnovers and limiting the Ichabods to 30% from the field in a 58-47 win Thursday in Topeka, Kansas.
“It feels great. It’s always great to win on somebody else’s home court and take it away from them,” senior Katrina Roenfeldt said. “I think we played really good defense. That’s what got us this game.”
The Griffons jumped out to a 16-9 lead after the first quarter behind six early points from Chris Wilson and a stifling defense. The Griffons limited the Ichabods to just 3-of-17 shooting and an 0-for-6 mark from 3-point range in the first 10 minutes.
Washburn (7-6, 1-3 MIAA) clawed back within four midway through the second before Simone Rodney’s 3-pointer started a 9-2 run to extend the lead to 11.
“(We had to) keep their post players from getting the ball and helping the guards navigate the screens,” senior Chris Wilson said. “
Kylee Williams closed out the half with her third 3-pointer of the half, scoring all 11 of her points in the first half to give Western a 30-20 lead.
Western (12-2, 4-1) went the first 4:48 of the second half without a score, allowing the Ichabods to claw within four points before a run sparked by the bench. A backdoor cut by Simone Walker led to a layup, then a hesitation dribble by Tamia Cunigan allowed her to scoop in a shot before another Walker lay-up. Western led 40-32 at the end of the quarter.
“It’s the M.O. of this team. Anyone is able to step up and really impact us,” head coach Canid Whitaker said. “We definitely have some kids we’ve leaned on, offensively, but that’s what makes this team special. You’ve got multiple people that can make shots, make plays with their defense that creates offense.”
A 10-2 run between quarters in which four players contributed pushed the lead to 14, and Washburn wouldn’t come within eight the rest of the way.
Wilson finished with 15 points and eight rebounds. Cunningham added 11 rebounds with just four points.
Mychaell Gray, who didn’t play in the second half due to a left knee injury, added seven points in 13 minutes as a starter. Whitaker said she was unsure of Gray’s status for Saturday’s matchup at Emporia State.
Washburn men 86, Missouri Western 76
The Griffons battled foul trouble the opening minutes and were unable to control the glass, getting outrebounded 49-36 in an 86-76 loss to the Ichabods.
Tyree Martin was limited to just 17 minutes due to foul trouble, and Alex John fouled out in just nine minutes.
With under eight minutes to play, John was issued a technical after blocking a shot out of bounds. Just 20 seconds later, guard Tyrell Carroll was issued a technical after a lay-in, giving the Ichabods three crucial points at the free-throw line.
The Ichabods made 26 of 32 free throws, while Western finished 5 of 12.
Western (7-9, 3-2) threw the first punch, jumping out to a 16-9 lead in the opening seven-plus minutes. Over the next three minutes, John and Martin got into foul trouble due to the physicality of Jonny Clausing for the Ichabods (8-5, 3-1). A 13-3 run pushed Washburn ahead 22-19.
With Western up 31-28 after a Will Eames 3-pointer, Washburn rallied off a 14-0 run behind eight points from Drew Maschoff. He finished with a career-high 23 points. Washburn led 46-36 at the half.
An 8-0 run allowed Western to regain the lead midway through the second half, going ahead on a jumper by Carroll. He finished with 23 points on the night.
After Jalen Lewis tied the game at 63, Washburn’s next seven points would come from the free-throw line to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
Millhollin tallied 22 points with five 3-pointers and three steals. Eames finished with 14 points and nine rebounds. Five Ichabods finished in double figures.