Westminster Women's Basketball Falls Short of SLIAC Championship

Westminster Women's Basketball Falls Short of SLIAC Championship

 GREENVILLE, Ill. -Westminster women's basketball fell in a close battle to Webster, 63-61, in the SLIAC Championship.

"Sometimes you can play really ahrd and be tough and do so many things right and still fall short," said Westminster Head Coach James Arnold. "Tonight was that night. Webster hit a few more big shots and found a way to win and you have to give credit to them."

Mirrakohl Johnson got off to a hot start for the Blue Jays, scoring the first 11 points for Westminster in the first six minutes of the game, but that wasn't enough to keep the Gorloks at bay. Webster led 12-11 after the first media timeout. 

At the 2:23 mark, Webster took its biggest lead of the first quarter at 16-11, but Westminster put together an 8-0 run to close out the quarter with a three-pointer form Payton Beeler and layups from Kelsey Ray and Jahne Williams. Webster hit a basket to close the quarter 19-18 in favor of Westminster. 

In the second quarter, Kendahl Adams and the Blue Jays started to heat up from behind the three-pointer line. Adams hit a layup to extend the Westminster lead, followed by back-to-back three-pointers from Adams and Mikalyn Callahan. A made layup from Beeler gave the Blue Jays a 29-23 lead with 6:23 to play in the half. 

After Webster hit a layup in their next possession, Adams hit back-to-back three-pointers for Westminster for the first double-digit lead of the game for either team. 

Webster closed the half with an 8-0 run make the score 35-33 with Westminster on top.

Johnson picked up where she left off in the third quarter, opening the half with two unanswered layups and a freethrow to extend the lead to 40-33. 

A Gorlok 10-0 run in the third quarter put them back on top for the first time in the half at 45-42 with 2:13 remaining in the quarter.

Callahan hit a layup followed by back-to-back three-pointers from Adams to end the quarter for the Blue Jays, on top 50-49 going into the final 10 minutes of the game. 

The Gorloks took back the lead with two straight scoring possessions in the fourth quarter, but Westminster tied the game back at 53 points apiece with 6:47 remaining in the game. After almost two minutes of no points from either team, the Blue Jays took a 57-53 lead after two freethrows from Adams and a Grace Archambault layup, but Webster quickly tied the game back up in their following two possessions. 

Johnson hit two freethrows, but the Gorloks took a 60-59 after hitting a three-pointer with 1:47 to play. Webster increased their lead with two made freethrows on the fifth foul from Adams with 20 seconds to play. 

Ray took the ball quickly down the floor to his a layup to make the Blue Jay deficit just one point, 62-61. Westminster was forced to foul to regain possession and put Webster on the freethrow line. The Gorloks hit the first to go put 63-61, but missed the second, giving Westminster one last shot with seven seconds left. 

Senior Beeler took the ball down the floor and took a three-pointer at the buzzer for the win, but the shot fell just short of the rim as time expired. 

"I hate the heartbreak for our ladies to be so close but I am thrilled we had this run to end the season," said Arnold. "I am excited for our two seniors, Payton and Kelsey, who put together fantastic careers and are going to move on to be great in the real world. We will miss them tremendously."

Johnson led the offense for the Blue Jays with 21 points, followed by 19 from Adams. Adams also recorded 13 rebounds. 

The Blue Jays end their season 15-12. Johnson and Adams were named to the All-Tournament team. 

"This season has been an absolute pleasure and there are so many things we an build on moving forward," said Arnold. "We reached our goals and even exceeded many in some ways. There are so many young players out there this weekend who gained some big time experience. I am blessed to be part of the Westminster family and am excited for the future."