LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Missed opportunities.
The Westminster College women's basketball team had plenty of opportunities during Saturday's key St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference matchup against Spalding University, but the Blue Jays couldn't seal the deal down the stretch. The end result was a heartbreaking 75-69 road loss to the Golden Eagles.
"Spalding is really good," Westminster Coach James Arnold said. "They have a big-time scorer and MVP-type player in Alex Martin, plus shooters, a great point guard and size. We had some opportunities but in the end we just couldn't get enough stops and buckets."
Westminster turned the ball over 24 times against the Golden Eagles, leading to 26 points by Spalding. On the flipside, Spalding committed only 10 turnovers, resulting in nine points for the Blue Jays.
Westminster outrebounded Spalding by a 42-26 margin, but the Golden Eagles won the battle on second chance points, 9-8. The Spalding bench also outscored Westminster's 19-8, but the Blue Jays won the battle of fast break points (8-7) as well as points scored in the paint (26-24)
"Our energy and enthusiasm was fantastic; our execution fell a little short," Arnold said.
Spalding scored led early in the contest, 3-0, on a Martin trey, but Westminster battled back to lead by 10 points at the end of the first quarter, 23-13. The Blue Jays held off a charge by Spalding to take a 34-30 lead into the locker room at halftime.
However, following intermission, the Golden Eagles found their rhythm and got hot. Fueled by 16-2 run to start the third quarter, Spalding climbed back on top, 46-36, and never looked back. The Blue Jays managed to cut the Golden Eagle lead to four, 53-49, at the end of the quarter and managed to pull to within a single point, 61-60, with 5:34 left in the game, but couldn't get over the hump.
"I was really impressed with our resiliency and ability to overcome their huge run in the third quarter, Arnold said. "We easily could have folded up but showed some great toughness to fight back and really give ourselves a chance."
Kendahl Adams led the Blue Jays with 28 points. Mirrakohl Johnson was the only other Blue Jay in double figures with 16 points. Martin led Spalding (15-6, 10-2) with 35 points while Kendyl Powell chipped in 12.
With the loss, Westminster falls to 16-5; 10-3 in SLIAC play heading into Wednesday's conference matchup against a tough Webster squad.
"There's some similarities in these games we have fallen just short: Tough and physical," Arnold said. "On Wednesday we have a huge opportunity at home versus Webster."