Gorloks split SLIAC contests to open conference season


The Webster University women’s basketball team opened its St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference schedule with a win on Wednesday, Nov. 28 against Blackburn College (Ill.). The Gorloks defeated Blackburn 63-55. Sophomore forward/center Jamie Buehrig made her first start for Webster in place of injured sophomore forward/center Cassie Endicott. Buehrig —who recorded a double-double — led the Gorloks with 20 points and 15 rebounds.

“I thought we did fine,” coach Jordan Olufson said. “I thought we were spotty at times with our efficiency, but (the) first conference game at home, you get a W, I’m very happy with that.”

Junior guard Kaliann Rikard drives to the hoop during the Webster University women’s basketball team’s 61-39 loss to the University of Dubuque on Monday, Dec. 3 at Grant Gymnasium. With the loss, Webster fell to 3-4 on the season. PHOTO BY MEGAN FAVIGNANO.

With 1:30 left in the first half, the Gorloks led the Beavers by 6, but 3-point shots by senior guards Airyn Miller and Gwen Williams extended the lead before halftime. Williams scored again before the half, and the Gorloks had a commanding 38-24 lead.

The Gorloks led throughout the second half by as many as 17 points and cruised to their first SLIAC win of the season. Buehrig’s 20 points and Williams’ 11 made them the high scorers for the Gorloks. Junior forward/guard Courtney Pursley nearly had a double-double of her own with 9 points and 12 rebounds.

Overall, Webster shot 33 percent from the field and 73 percent from the free-throw line, including 5 for 6 in the second half. The Gorloks out-rebounded the Beavers 55-48, including 24 offensive, but shot 15 percent from the three-point line, making 2 of 13.

Following the team’s first SLIAC victory of 2012-2013, Webster traveled to Greenville College (Ill.) on Saturday, Dec. 1  to take on the Panthers. With 14 seconds left in overtime, the Panthers took the lead on a layup. And the Gorloks were unable to find an answer as time expired. The Panthers defeated the Gorloks 74-72 after a 5-minute overtime period. With the loss, the Gorlok’s evened their record at 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the SLIAC.

“I thought we played with high effort, high intensity,” Olufson said. “We did a lot of really good things and we were playing at a tough place (in) our first (conference) road game, and we fell short. But I think we played our tails off there. I was pleased with our effort.

“We have things we have to work on, and overall I’d love to be 2-0, but we’re not.”

Senior guard Maggie Zehner, who had 15 points and 6 assists in the loss to Greenville, said the game was a heartbreaker.

“It’s nothing Greenville did to us,” Zehner said. “We defeat ourselves when we don’t box out. We don’t complete plays, and we get up on them and we give up our lead, so it’s just things we need to work on. It’s just working on a consistent effort, boxing out, and getting in that mindset to go for the kill.”

After Webster led the Panthers by 2 at halftime, Greenville was up by as many as 5 points in the second half. A 6-0 run by Webster helped them regain the lead, but the Gorloks never led by more than 2 points. With 11 seconds left in regulation, Pursley tied the game at 63 with a 3-pointer. With three-tenths of a second left, a charging foul on the Panthers took away the game-winning layup. The teams were forced into overtime.

In overtime, Webster scored 9 points and led by a single point with 32 seconds left. After a missed shot by Greenville’s Kayla Hyde and an offensive rebound, Greenville’s Emily Gundy took the eventual game-winning shot with 13 seconds remaining. The Gorloks were unable to answer.

Williams was the highest scorer for the Gorloks in the overtime loss with 21 points and 5 steals. Buehrig followed up her double-double performance against Blackburn with 10 points and 12 rebounds — a second double-double in a row as she filled in for Endicott. Pursley had 11 points and 7 rebounds, and made 6 of 7 free throws.

“It’s part of the game, though, when you get to that point,” Zehner said. “You’re either going to pass it off or want to take the shot. I’m one of those. Courtney’s one of those that wants to take the shot.”

Overall, the Gorloks shot 31 percent from the field and 25 percent from the 3-point line — about a 10 percent increase from the previous game against Blackburn.

The Gorloks lost at home and dropped their record to 3-4 overall on Monday, Dec. 3 as they hosted nonconference University of Dubuque (Iowa). After an early Gorlok lead of 7-2, it was all Spartans as Dubuque cruised to victory defeating the Gorloks 61-39.

“Dubuque is a very, very good basketball team,” Zehner said. “I would say, in all of my years here, that’s one of the best teams I have ever played against, but that’s just my opinion.

“The coaches have been telling us for a very long time now: boxing out is not a talent, it’s a choice, and we’re kind of slacking off there. They had 56 rebounds, and 24 were offensive. And that’s a lot of points we’re giving them right there. So we need to be more consistent and do the things we can control and work on our shooting.”

The Gorloks shot 25 percent from the field and were 1 for 13 from the 3-point line.

Going forward, the team looks to improve its rebounding and valuing the ball. Olufson said that before they play at Elmhurst College (Ill.) on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 1 p.m., the Gorloks have some work to do.

“The next couple days will be about Webster basketball, and after that we’ll worry about our opponents,” Olufson said.

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