FULTON – The Blackburn College women's basketball team began Wednesday's match up with St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference foe Westminster College by being assessed a technical foul for issues with the scoring book. Although the Blue Jays' Kallee Dowler only converted one of the two free throws, it didn't get much better for the Beavers from that point. Westminster outscored Blackburn 25-9 in the first quarter en route to a 90-44 win in Historic Gym.
"Tonight was a good win for us," Westminster Coach Talisha Washington said. "We shot the ball well from the field, rebounded well, took care of the ball, and moved the ball well against Blackburn's Zone. Our girls weren't afraid to shoot it tonight."
And shoot it they did. Westminster shot 45 percent from the field (33-74); 46 percent from 3-point range (16-35). The Blue Jays' defense held Blackburn to just 31 percent from the field (17-55); and a paltry 16 percent from beyond the arc (3-19).
Following Dowler's free throw to begin the contest, Blackburn jumped out to a 5-1 advantage, but the Blue Jays stormed back on the strength of a pair of 3-point buckets by Abbie Reece and Dowler to tie the game at 7-all. Westminster hit the afterburners and scorched the Beavers with an 18-2 run to close the quarter. The Blue Jays continued the offensive assault in the second quarter to hold a 45-15 advantage at halftime.
In the third quarter Westminster kept the offensive intensity going, outscoring Blackburn 31-18. The Beavers managed to stay somewhat close to the Blue Jays' scoring output in the fourth quarter, managing to only be outscored by Westminster 14-11.
"For the past few games, we've had trouble with being consistent for four quarters," Washington said. "Tonight we showed consistency with our shots, our effort on the glass and even in our intensity throughout the game."
Sophomore guard Reece Arnold led four Westminster players in double figures with a game-high 21 points on 8-12 shooting from the field; 4-6 from 3-point range; Dowler torched the Beavers for 19 points (5-8 from the field; 5-6 from beyond the arc). Abbie Reece added 16 points for the Blue Jays while Corrie Reece chipped in 13.
While the Blue Jays had a slight rebounding advantage over Blackburn (44-33), Westminster dished out 26 assists in the contest compared to just eight for Blackburn. The Blue Jays also forced 16 turnovers in the contest and committed just six, scoring 24 points off of turnovers as opposed to 11 points for the Beavers.
The Blue Jays outscored Blackburn 22-12 in points in the paint and 18-2 on fastbreak points. The Westminster bench outscored Blackburn's 50-4.
With the win, Westminster (5-7, 4-1) stays atop of a logjam in the SLIAC standings, tied with Eureka, Spalding and Webster. The Blue Jays return to action on Saturday when Westminster travels to St. Louis to take on Webster University. The 1 PM contest is the SLIAC Game of the Week.
"We still have a lot of work to do in order to get better as a team," Washington said. "Proud of our performance tonight but we can't afford to settle."