The Westminster women's basketball team pulled out a huge 59-56 win over Webster University Wednesday night after celebrating their Senior Night. The Westminster Blue Jays improve their conference record to 10-7, ensuring their ticket to the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) Tournament. Their overall record is 12-11.
After a slow start, the game was tied at 4 after four minutes of play. The Webster Gorloks scored six unanswered points to take the lead and with 9:57 left in the first half, the Blue Jays trailed 17-6. Slowly, the Blue Jays were able to cut the deficit to just five points with just under three minutes left in the half. The Gorloks answered back with a 6-0 run. The Blue Jays headed into halftime down 35-25.
The Gorloks held possession of the lead for the first 11 minutes of the second half. Sophomore Sadie Theroff hit two free throws, followed by a fast break layup, followed by a three-pointer to cut the deficit, and a fast break layup by sophomore Mackenzie Haddox brought the game within one point, 48-47. The Gorloks went 3-4 from the foul line, keeping the lead, but the Blue Jays came back with a layup and two good free throws to tie the game at 51 with 3:36 left in the game.
A steal by senior Leigh Ann Lutz, followed by a long jumper by Haddox gave the Blue Jays their first lead since the beginning of the game. A block by Danielle Williams gave the Blue Jays control of the ball and they came through with another layup to take the 55-51 lead. Four Gorlok free throws tied up the game with 49 seconds on the clock.
The game came down to the free throw line, with Lutz up with 24 seconds remaining. She downed both, and the Gorloks went 1-2 on their free throws, keeping the lead in Blue Jay control, 57-56. Haddox went to the line with 9 seconds left on the clock. She put down both, sealing the deal with a 59-56 victory.
"It was a great competitive game," stated Head Coach Tracey Braden. "I am so proud of our team for battling back. It was a great confidence booster for us going forward."
The Blue Jays shot 35 percent from the field, but were cold from the three-point line after only hitting three. Haddox led the Blue Jays in almost category. She scored 17 points, grabbed 8 boards and added six assists. Theroff tallied 14 points and freshman Andrea Zalis added 13 points and three blocks.
The Blue Jays celebrated Senior Night prior to the game, honoring senior Leigh Ann Lutz. Lutz has been a positive asset to the team throughout her four years, bringing in the perfect mix of what a Division III student-athlete looks like. She excelled on the court and now holds two career records and a season record. She has also excelled in the classroom; she has received multiple awards including the Capital One Academic All-America Third Team, Academic All-District First Team, and many Academic All-Conference awards.
The Blue Jays travel to Louisville, Ky. to face Spalding University in the final regular season conference match-up. Tip-off is at 6:00 p.m.