FULTON, Mo. – Home is where the heart is. It's also a place that can cure what ails you.
After four games on the road, where players at times struggled to make shots and take care of the basketball, the Westminster women's basketball team returned to the friendly confines of Historic Gym on Saturday and found a cure to what ailed them: Principia College. The result was an all-around team effort that included a season-high 24 assists. The return home also saw the Blue Jays shoot 49 percent from the field; 35 percent from 3-point range en route to a resounding 100-59 victory over Principia Saturday afternoon in St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action.
"Today was a much-needed game for us to get back into the swing of things, "Coach Talisha Washington said. "This week we put a heavy emphasis on staying fundamentally-sound on defense."
Defensively, the Blue Jays racked up 11 steals and two blocked shots. Westminster also held Principia to 40 percent shooting from the field (23-57); 25 percent from 3-point range (4-16).
"By doing that today, it helped fuel some things for us on the offensive end," Washington said.
And fuel their offense it did. Five Blue Jays scored in double figures for Westminster, with Abbie Reece leading the way with 16 points. Kallee Dowler added 15 points for Westminster, Kendal Miller chipped in 13, Reece Arnold tossed in 12 and Mikalyn Callahan tallied 10. A total of 10 Blue Jays cracked the scoring column in the contest.
Callahan led the Westminster with six assists followed by Dowler and Rei Imamura who each dished out four.
"We did a great job of sharing the ball," Washington said. "I'm very proud of the contributions that everyone displayed,
Turnovers plagued the Blue Jays during their three-game skid, but Saturday they had just seven while forcing 24 Principia miscues. Westminster scored 37 points off turnovers in the contest, compared to just 10 points for the Panthers. The Blue Jays outscored Principia 40-22 in the paint and 38-4 off of fast break points.
Westminster's bench outscored Principia 46-0.
Westminster got on the board first as Callahan scored on an assist from Reece to take a 2-0 lead. The Panthers would battle back, utilizing a 10-0 run to take an early 10-2 advantage. Westminster would pull to within one, 10-9, with 4:41 remaining in the period, before the teams would battle to a 17-all draw at the end of the first quarter. Early in the second quarter, a pair of layups by Reece and Dowler, put the Blue Jays up 21-17and they never looked back, turning on the afterburners to outscore Principia 30—9 in the period to lead at intermission, 47-26. Westminster kept the heat on the Panthers in the third quarter, outscoring Principia 32-16 in the period; 21
Sophia Hathaway and Nikki Matters led Principia with 25 and 24 points, respectively.
With the win Westminster improves to 4-7 on the season; 3-1 in conference play. Principia falls to 0-8 on the season; 0-4 in the SLIAC.
Westminster returns to action on Wednesday when the Blue Jays host conference foe Blackburn at 5:30 in Historic Gym.