Dubuque–The William Penn women’s basketball team had five players in double figures as it held off Clarke 82-75 in Heart of America Athletic Conference action Monday.
With the win, the Statesmen (10-5, 8-3 Heart) are off to their best league start since 2012-2013 and best overall start since 2010-2011.
Due to a coaching decision, the navy and gold were competing with a depleted roster, but the visitors came out unfazed, taking the lead for good at 12-10. Ahead 20-18 after one quarter of play, the Statesmen put the Crusaders (9-6, 5-6 Heart) on their heels by outscoring them 17-7 in the second period to lead 37-25 at halftime.
CU pulled to within two in the third stanza, but WPU weathered the storm and went back up 57-48 entering the final quarter. The advantage grew to a dozen once more before Clarke made its last push to make it a one-point contest with 95 seconds remaining.
Fortunately, JeAnn Hiraldo (Jr., Frisco, Texas, Industrial Technology) capped a big game off the bench with a three-pointer and the Statesmen iced the game at the charity stripe. Both squads were impressive at the line with the Statesmen hitting 81.0% (82.1% for Clarke).
William Penn outshot Clarke 42.6%-35.8% and held a 45-41 edge in rebounding, but had to overcome 27 turnovers (21 for CU) to come away victorious.
Sarah Hansen (Jr., Kewanee, Ill., Psychology and Human Services) paced all participants with 25 points, including three three-pointers and a perfect 8-for-8 effort at the line; WPU made seven deep shots Monday. Normally known for her offensive prowess, Hansen also stole five passes.
In her non-starting role, Hiraldo scored 15 points with seven rebounds. Asia Roper (Sr., Aurora, Colo., Psychology) was next in scoring with 14 points alongside five assists, while Vashti Nwagbaraocha (So., Milwaukee, Wis., Exercise Science) had 13 points and also rang up five assists.
Alyssa Phillips (Sr., Gurnee, Ill., Communications) recorded a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds. The senior blocked a pair of shots as well.
“We were short-handed tonight, but played with a lot of energy and heart,” Head Coach Willie Scott said. “Our press had them on their heels the entire first half, but we got into foul trouble and had to take the pressure off so we would have enough players to finish the game.”
“Our starters played very well and we got a huge effort from JeAnn off the bench,” Scott added. “We had 16 assists against 27 turnovers, but still found a way to pull off a very important road win.”
Next Up: William Penn returns to Oskaloosa Thursday to face #19 Benedictine in Heart action at 5:30 p.m.