Waverly, Ia. – The Westminster College Blue Jays fell 104-54 at the Wartburg College Knights on Friday evening. The Blue Jay's drop to 0-1 on the new season, while the Knights, who were playing their ninth game of the season, improved to 8-1.
The Knights struck quickly hitting a three-point shot on their first possession to take an early 3-0 lead. The teams traded defensive stops until Wartburg converted an offensive rebound into a put back to take a 5-0 lead. That basket prompted Blue Jay Head Coach Talisha Washington to call a thirty second timeout to talk to her troops. Out of the timeout the Blue Jays capitalized as junior Reese Arnold connected on a three pointer from the left wing, off a nice pass from senior Kallee Dowler, to cut Wartburg's lead to 5-3. Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, the Knights responded with a 10-0 run over the next four minutes to push their lead to double figures. The knights closed out the quarter up 21-6.
The Second quarter saw the Blue Jays find their legs a little and respond to the #2 nationally ranked Knights. After Wartburg opened the quarter with back to back buckets to take a 25-6 lead, the Blue Jays steadied themselves and proceeded to outscore the hosts 22-17 over the next seven minutes and thirteen seconds. The run cut the Wartburg lead to 42-28 with one minute and twenty-three seconds left in the half. It was the closest the Jays would get the rest of the game. The nations second ranked team used their own 7-0 run to take a 49-28 lead into the break. Arnold hit a pair of threes in the quarter to bring her team leading total to 9 before halftime. Transfer's Avylina Powel-Qualo, Amorette Rodriguez, Madison Schaeffer and Freshman Shelby Kurtz all scored their first points as Blue Jays in the quarter.
The Knights rode the strength of 51.4% field goal shooting, 22 second chance points and 34 points off turnovers the rest of the way to a 104-54 victory.
Coach Washington had this to say after the opener, "Tonight's game was an opportunity that we were fortunate to have. The outcome was not to our liking, but this gave us insight on situations we have to be better at. We gave up way too many paint points, allowed too many second chance points and did not rotate well. Offensively we didn't take care of the ball, missed shot opportunities, and had a tough time finishing at the rim." She added, "We have a very talented group of young ladies that play well together. It's games like tonight that will help prepare us for conference play at the end of this month. I am excited to see how this group responds on Wednesday night on our home floor."
The Blue Jays were led in scoring by Arnold with 13 points followed by Powel-Qualo with eight, and Schaefer with seven. The Blue Jays were outrebounded 48-28 with Schaeffer leading the Jays with five boards. Rodriguez led Westminster with four of the teams 13 assists.
The Blue Jays will be back in action this coming Wednesday evening, as they return home for the first time this season to take on Nebraska Wesleyan University. The game is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. tip off in Historic Gym. No fans will be allowed in Historic Gym, per SLIAC COVID-19 protocols, for any indoor contests at this time(Volleyball, Basketball and Wrestling).