By John Pohl
The Webster University women’s basketball team traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, for a key St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) game against Spalding University on Jan. 15. The Gorloks could not find their rhythm or shooting touch in the 71-59 loss to the Golden Eagles.
At the 11-minute mark of the first half, a tight game got away from the Gorloks. Trailing only 17-13, Webster went scoreless for the next four minutes as Spalding went on a 12-0 run, putting Webster down 16.
The Gorloks never recovered.
“We played with great effort and we played aggressive,” said Webster coach Jordan Olufson. “We hit a stretch where we didn’t score and they did, and that was the difference in the game.”
In a mistake-filled first half, Webster made only seven of 22 shots, had 14 turnovers and trailed 33-20 at halftime.
“The first half killed us,” said sophomore point guard Maggie Zehner. “We made too many silly mistakes. “We waited too long to make a pass and we just had a mental breakdown.”
Zehner, who has recently been bothered by a knee injury, is confident that the Gorloks can — and will — play better.
“We are used to that kind of pressure,” Zehner said. “We just need to focus on wiser passes.”
Zehner and senior Katy Meyer led the way for Webster with 16 points apiece. Meyer also grabbed eight rebounds, tops on the team.
“You can’t take anything away from Spalding; they are a good, physical team,” Meyer said. “We had a hard time adjusting to that style of play. We had some breakdowns that caused some of the turnovers and our shots were not falling.”
In the second half, the Gorloks shot nearly 50 percent from the field and protected the ball better. However, Spalding kept pace with excellent shooting themselves, and moved into sole possession of second place with the win.
Meyer knows what her team needs to do to prepare for the critical conference game against Westminster College on Jan. 19 at 6 p.m. in the Grant Gymnasium.
“We have a lot to work on as far as offense and defense,” Meyer said. “It’s best we focus on our own team.”
The SLIAC is competitive as always; any number of four teams still have a legitimate shot of winning the conference. Westminster, Spalding, Webster and Fontbonne are all battling for the top spot. Webster’s game versus Westminster will either draw the Gorloks back to within striking distance of the leader, or put them three and a half games back in the standings.
“I told the freshmen and sophomores that anything can happen in this conference,” Meyer said. “Westminster can lose two to three games and so can anyone else.”
All nine games left on the Gorloks’ schedule are conference games, so winning the title is still within reach.
After the Westminster game, the Gorloks play three straight road games against Greenville (Jan. 22), Principia (Jan. 25) and Eureka (Jan. 29).
“Every team in our conference has good and bad nights,” Zehner said. “We have to prepare to be consistent. We have to start the first half of the game strong and finish the game strong.”