Gene Cassell, Associate Athletic Director
TOPEKA — On the final day of 2018, the Washburn women’s basketball team stretched its win streak to five straight, overpowering Saint Mary (Kan.) for a 69-40 victory at Lee Arena. Washburn used a platoon to improve to 7-4 on the year, as 13 different Ichabods found their way onto the final scoresheet.
Alexis McAfee led all scorers with a game-high 12 points while sharing the wealth with six assists. McAfee knocked down 4-fo-5 from the field, while going 3-for-3 from behind the arc in 22 minutes.
Hunter Bentley followed with nine points while Nicole Murugarren contributed with eight points and four rebounds. Taylor Blue, Shelbe Piggie, Annette Warner and Shay Tanking aided the cause with six points apiece.
Warner pulled down a team-best six rebounds as the Ichabods controlled the glass for the fourth consecutive game, out rebounding the Spires, 41-34.
Saint Mary (3-9) led for the opening minute of the contest as they put together a 4-2 lead, however, those would be their only points of the frame as the Washburn defense held to 0-for-8 shooting during next 6:44 for the first.
The Ichabods took the lead with a three from McAfee at 8:04 and it was all Washburn from there, which converted seven of its next 10 shots, closing the opening period with a stout 20-4 advantage.
Despite a bit more back-and-forth, Washburn continued to roll in the second as Murgarren and Warner combined for eight points, helping the Ichabods to a 35-17 lead at the break.
The Ichabods continued to overwhelm USM as play resumed with Washburn extending its lead to 25 behind a 11-4 run inside four minutes of the third, as it converted of 5-of-7 from the field. After being held without a a point for nearly three minutes, the Spires cut the advantage to 19 as they pieced together a 6-0 spurt.
With Washburn leading 48-27, the Ichabod bench began adding to the cause as they accounted for 18 of WU’s 21 fourth quarter points. Piggie netted four points during the frame’s opening minute. Tanking meanwhile helped Washburn to extend its lead to a game-high 31 as she knocked down a pair of long-range shots to make it 66-35 and 69-38, the last coming with 1:52 remaining.
After shooting .441 (15-of-34) during the opening half, Washburn finished the afternoon at .412 as it converted 28-of-68 chances from the field. The defense meanwhile faced a season-low 46 shots as USM posted a .283 clip. Washburn also outscored the Spires in transition, 23-0, while tallying 19 points on 22 USM turnovers.
The Ichabods return to MIAA action on Saturday, Jan. 5 when they travel to White Auditorium to face Emporia State in the season’s only installment of the Clash of I-335. Tip-off is slated for 5:30 pm.