GREENVILLE, Ill. - Westminster women's basketball posted an opening game overtime win over Illinois College, with five Blue Jays in double-figures.
Westminster opens the regular season 1-0 with the win.
"It's always great to find a way to win and learn from experience," said Westminster Head Coach James Arnold.
Westminster and the Lady Blues traded baskets to open the game until the Blue Jays went on a 6-0 run led by two straight made jump shots from Mikalyn Callahan and three points from freshman Grace Archambault to give Westminster a 19-10 lead.
"Grace was tremendous in her college debut tonight," said Arnold.
The Lady Blues made a run at the end of the quarter supplemented by a jump shot from Callahan to make the Westminster lead 21-15 after the first quarter.
Illinois College started the second quarter out strong, scoring the first five points to bring the score back to 21-20 in favor of Westminster. Payton Beeler hit a three-pointer to put the Blue Jays on the board for the first time in the second quarter. Beeler went on to score the next three points to go on a personal 6-0 run against the Lady Blues.
After trading baskets in the remaining minutes of the second quarter, Westminster closed out the first half with a 35-32 lead.
The Lady Blues started the second half strong with a three-pointer to tie the game, but a Mirrakohl Johnson 9-4 run resulted in a 44-39 Westminster lead with 6:17 left in the third quarter.
Westminster then gave up back-to-back three-pointers as Illinois College went up 46-44 with just over five minutes left to play in the third quarter.
A three-pointer from Kendahl Adams with just over one minute to play in the third quarter gave Westminster the lead, and two jump shots from Johnson solidified the lead to end the third quarter 60-57 in favor Westminster.
Four points from Beeler in the fourth quarter led to a double-digit lead for Westminster with six minutes to play in the game.
A 23-7 run from the Lady Blues to end the game resulted in a tie and forced overtime.
Archambault hit the first bucket of overtime for Westminster to set the tone. A 7-0 run for Westminster fueled by freethrows from Archambault, Beeler and Ray plus a jump shot from Adams. led to an 88-82 lead for the Blue Jays with 30 seconds left in the game. Westminster made enough freethrows down the stretch to secure the opening game win.
Johnson led the way with a double-double, scoring 21 points on 8-12 shooting and grabbing 11 boards. Adams scored 15 including a well-rounded game of eight boards and seven assists.
Beeler scored 16 points off the bench. Archambault added 14 bench points as well. Kelsey Ray scored 10 points as the starting point guard, including three steals.
"With so many of us being new to the program, there is still so much room for growth," said Arnold. "We are still finding ourselves as a team and that is going to take some time. Finding a way to grit out a win will only help expedite that process."
Westminster faces Millikin Saturday at 3 p.m. to conclude the Tip-Off Tournament hosted by Greenville.