St. Louis, Mo 2/19/2022- The Westminster College women's basketball team took on the Griffins of Fontbonne University in the regular-season finale. In their last game, the Blue Jays scored a season-high 101 points. The team is looking to ride that momentum into the SLIAC conference tournament, scheduled to start next week. The Griffins needed a victory to secure the third seed, and a loss might drop them to the fifth seed.
The Blue Jays came out of the gates firing, Corrie Reece (Cape Girardeau, Mo. / Cape Central) nailed a three-pointer on the Blue Jay's first possession, really setting the tone for Jays. Her three would be the first of 12 made three-pointers by Westminster. Later in the quarter, Reese Arnold (Lonedell, Mo. / Washington) hit another three, putting Westminster up 7-2 in the early stages of the first quarter. Both teams would struggle to score for the next two minutes of the game. At the 5:49 mark, the Griffins ended the scoring drought, making a three of their own tying the game at seven all. Westminster offense exploded, rattling off 11 straight points, giving them a 19-8 lead. Fontbonne would get to the foul line with five seconds left in the quarter and make one of two free throws. The quarter ended with the Blue Jays up 19-9.
The second quarter saw the offenses explode, with both teams scoring 20 points in the quarter. It was a tale of two halves. In the first part of the second quarter, the Westminster extended their lead to twenty points with 5:59 left to go in the half, off an Arnold three. She would make five in the game. The Griffins battled back in the latter part of the quarter, scoring 16 points to the Blue Jays 6 points in the final five minutes of the first half. The teams went into halftime, with Westminster leading 39-29.
In the second half, both teams would continue to battle back and forth. Fontbonne would cut the lead to eight points at various points. However, every time the Griffins would get close, the Blue Jays would strike back. Shelby Kurtz (Camdenton, Mo. / Camdenton) knocked down a three-pointer with 3:32 remaining in the third to put her team up 16. Westminster could not put their opponents away. Fontbonne would come roaring back to end the third period of action down 60-49.
At the start of the fourth quarter, the Blue Jays were looking to put the game out of reach and coast to a road victory to end the season. They thought it was mission accomplished when they went up 20 for the second time in the game, with 2:09 remaining. The Griffins were defiant again, cutting the lead to ten when the final horn sounded. The run would prove too little, too late. Fontbonne would never lead in the game, and they tied the game one time. The Blue Jays got a hard-fought win defeating the Griffins 73-63.
Arnold led the team with 21 points, going 8-18 from the field and 5-10 from three-point land. Kurtz dropped in 13, with all her baskets coming from behind the three-point arc. She also went 4-4 from the free-throw line. Annette Ramirez (Sarcoxie, MO / Sarcoxie) chipped in 11 points coming off the bench.
With the victory, the Blue Jays locked up the second seed in the SLIAC conference tournament and will host at least one tournament game in Fulton. Westminster improves to 16-9 overall and 12-2 in the conference. The women's basketball team will play in the first round of the SLAIC tournament on Wednesday, February 23rd, against the seventh-seeded Blackburn College Beavers. That game will tip off at 7:00 p.m. inside the Historic Gym. There will be a $5.00 admission fee for adults and a $3.00 fee for children under 16.