Lady Blues Hold Off Blues Jays in Season Opener

Mirrakohl Johnson (20)
Mirrakohl Johnson (20)

FULTON, Mo. - Westminster women's basketball fell to Illinois College 80-59 to open the season.

The Blue Jays open the season 0-1. 

"We had difficulty getting anything going tonight on either end of the floor," said Westminster Head Coach James Arnold. "We credit Illinois College for most of that, they are upper-classmen heavy and they play hard." 

Both teams remainined scoreless for the first two minutes of the game, until the Lady Blues hit a freethrow to break the scoreless streak. Mirrakohl Johnson scored the first field goal for the Blue Jays in the following possession, followed by layups from Kendahl Adams and Jahne Williams to get Westminster started offensively. 

The Lady Blues went on a short 6-0 run to take the 9-6 lead at the halfway point of the quarter, with another 8-0 run to take a double-digit lead with a minute remaining in the quarter. 

Kallee Dowler hit a layup to end the half 17-12 in favor of Illinois College. 

Rei Imamaura hit the first four points of the second quarter, but the Lady Blues hit two layups to hold the lead. Kendal Miller followed Imamura's run with back-to-back three-pointers to put Westminster within two points with 4:40 to play in the half. 

Illinois College went on a 7-0 run to take a nine-point lead, but Johnson and Abbie Reece hit layups to keep the Blue Jays in the game. At the half, Westminster was down 37-29. 

Adams opened the half with back-to-back layups to put the Blue Jays back within four points of the lead. A 7-0 lead late in the third quarter from Illinois College gave the Lady Blues their first double-digit lead of the game, holding the 10-point lead to the end of the third quarter at 55-45. 

After trading baskets in the opening minutes, Illinois College went on a 6-0 run to increase their lead to 16 points with just over three minutes to play. The Blue Jays made freethrows down the stretch, but struggled to close the gap in the final minutes. 

Johnson led all scorers with 24 points and eight rebounds. 

"We have a ton of talent but also a lot of new faces," said Arnold, "It may take us some time to find our stride but tonight was certainly a learning experience for our group."

The Blue Jays continue the Tipoff Tournament, facing Millikin at noon Saturday.