FULTON – Ugly was the theme of Saturday's Westminster College women's basketball game against Fontbonne University.
As in rust from a sporadic week of practices and a week off from competition. Ugly as in 22 turnovers committed in the game. Ugly as in 23 called fouls. Ugly as in giving up 25 points from the free-throw line. Ugly as in "ugly" Christmas Sweater Day.
But in the end, Westminster found a way to "grind out" a 93-74 conference home win over Fontbonne Saturday afternoon in Historic Gym. The win was the ninth straight for the Blue Jays, who improved to 9-1 on the season; 4-0 in St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.
"With a full week off and practices being sporadic around finals, I was so impressed with our ladies and their ability to find a way to win over a tough opponent," Westminster Coach James Arnold said.
The Griffins weren't much better, committing 21 turnovers, 28 fouls and giving up 27 points from the charity stripe.
The Blue Jays were hot from the tip, opening up a 4-0 lead on a pair of Mirrakohl Johnson baskets and never looked back. Fontbonne managed to pull within one, 4-3, but were outscored the remainder of the period, 29-14, to trail after one, 33-17. In the second quarter both teams played fairly even as Westminster outscored the Griffins, 23-19, but still managed to hold a sizeable 56-36 margin at the half.
In the third period, Fontbonne tied Westminster in points for the quarter with 17 apiece -- and even out scored the Blue Jays in the fourth period, 21-20, -- but couldn't overcome that first-half deficit.
Westminster finished the contest shooting 48 percent from the field (28-58); 45 percent from 3-point range (10-22) and 79 percent (27-34) from the charity stripe. Fontbonne shot 37 percent from the field (22-59) and 26 percent (5-19) from beyond the arc and 83 percent (25-30) from the free-throw line. Westminster outrebounded Fontbonne, 38-27.
"It's great that we are continuing to find ways to win, but we also need to continue to dig into the details and keep working to improve," Arnold said. "This group will do that."
Rylee Stafford led four Fontbonne players in double figures with 30 points; Paige Black added 17 points. Both Sarah Schraut and Riley Guffey also contributed 10 points each in the loss for the Griffins, who fell to 3-6 on the season; 1-2 in SLIAC play.
Westminster has little time to savor the victory. The Blue Jays return to action on Monday when they host Nebraska Wesleyan in a 11 AM nonconference matchup in Historic Gym.
"Excited to have one more opportunity on the court before Christmas break," Arnold said.