Webster’s women’s basketball team loses big to conference-leading Westminster, then defeats Greenville and Principia
By John Pohl
Webster University’s women’s basketball team found out first-hand what the expression “speed kills” means when Westminster College ran past the Gorloks, 89-65, at Grant Gymnasium on Jan. 19.
Facing full-court pressure the entire game, the Gorloks had a season-high 29 turnovers — including 18 in the second half — and the Blue Jays took control of the game.
“We just got outworked; we didn’t execute,” said Webster coach Jordan Olufson. “They beat us down the court and we did not match their speed.”
Westminster went ahead early in the game behind the shooting of Rachel Backes and Leigh Ann Lutz, who both made three 3-pointers to help the Blue Jays to a 40-29 halftime lead. Westminster shot 50 percent from the field and from the 3-point arc in the half.
“All they do is dribble, drive and kick out,” Olufson said. “We just got sucked down and had breakdowns on our defense. We told them, ‘don’t leave number 5 (Backes) and 11 (Lutz) open,’ and we did.”
As the clock wound down to end the first half, Backes threw a shot up from nearly half-court and banked it in as the buzzer went off.
“They have great shooters,” said sophomore guard Maggie Zehner. “Lutz shot from NBA range. We didn’t help each other out, though. Not to take anything away from Westminster, because they are good, but we have to get back to the principles of defense.”
Westminster stepped on the gas in the second half, forcing an array of bad passes from Webster, which the Blue Jays turned into easy baskets. Less than four minutes into the second half, the Gorloks trailed 50-33.
“You are not going to win many games with 29 turnovers,” Zehner said. “We have to work in practice on tighter passes and the sloppiness.”
As the turnovers mounted for Webster, the Blue Jays drove the lane and continued to make easy shots and free throws. Westminster made 18 of 20 foul shots in the second half, and 86 percent from the line for the game.
“Westminster didn’t do anything to us that we shouldn’t have been able to handle,” said freshman guard Kaliann Rikard. “We let them control the game. In the second half, we stopped attacking and settled for jump shots instead of layups.”
Olufson said there is no easy fix to get things corrected.
“We have some things we have to figure out,” Olufson said. “We knew exactly what they were going to do and we didn’t execute. We have to go back to work, take the hard hat, lunch pail and get after it at practice.”
Senior Katy Meyer had a solid game with 19 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Gorloks.
With seven St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) games remaining and the conference tournament to follow, Rickard is confident Webster can put this game behind them.
“We just have to move on from this game and use it to improve and fuel our intensity for the rest of the year,” Rickard said. “Losing is unacceptable, and as a team, we just have to get our rhythm back.”
Webster came back strong with a convincing 83-71 win at Greenville College on Saturday Jan 22.The Gorloks led virtually all the way.
Meyer led the Gorloks with 15 points and in the game became the fifth player in Webster women’s basketball history to go over 1,000 points.
Webster, once again led by Meyer, pounded Principia College 68-49 on Jan. 25 in Elsah, Illinois. Meyer scored 21 points and added 6 rebounds. Olufson played the Gorloks’ entire roster in the team’s second straight victory.
Webster is now 11-7 overall. The Gorloks are in third place in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with a 6-3 conference record. The team plays at Eureka College on Jan. 29 in another important conference game.