SALINA – Catherine Bowman (FR/Bucklin, Kan.) and her coach Dwanisha Tate weren’t about to let a little adversity – some might argue there was a ton of it – scuttle Kansas Wesleyan’s efforts against arch rival Bethany.
Tate, a second-year assistant coach for the women’s basketball team, assumed the head coaching role in place of Ryan Showman and Bowman made her first collegiate start replacing leading scorer Gabby Mureeba (JR/Allen, Texas) in the game Wednesday inside Mabee Arena. Showman was forced to watch the game online from his home because of COVID-19 protocols and Mureeba also was absent because of illness. Reserve guard Lauren Brown (SR/Wylie, Texas) also missed the game.
The Coyotes didn’t skip a beat, though. Tate and fellow assistant Harper Sheets deftly guided the team from the bench and Bowman scored a career-high 13 points as KWU pulled away in the second half for a 71-56 Kansas Conference victory.
“One of our big points was handling adversity,” said Bowman, who was 4 of 6 from the field (2 of 2 beyond the 3-point arc) and 3 of 4 at the free throw line in her best game of the season. “We were obviously short a couple of people and having people step up and fill their roles – coach Tate did a great job, we had people off the bench come in and do a great job – played a key role in our victory.”
“I told them in the locker room (before the game) ‘it’s not about you, it’s about the person next to you and people that are in the locker room today,'” Tate said. “They came out and delivered.”
Bowman said the team was told Monday that Showman would be gone but didn’t learn of Mureeba’s status until Wednesday.
“That was kind of a shock,” Bowman said.
The Coyotes (11-4 overall, 7-3 KCAC) led 31-29 at halftime and the game was tied at 39 with just under five minutes left in the third quarter but it was all KWU from that point on.
Four consecutive points by Kelcey Hinz (SR/Whitewater, Kan.) ignited a decisive 22-6 run that continued into the fourth quarter and gave Wesleyan a 61-45 lead with 5½ minutes left in the game. Hinz was the ringleader with 10 points.
Bethany (11-6, 7-4) got no closer than 13 the rest of the way.
Tate said Showman constantly tells his assistants to be prepared so they can take over if needed.
“He gives us a lot of opportunities in practice to speak up, to stand out, to give our opinions to the team,” she said. “Without a doubt all of this goes back to Showman, he’s coached us up to do what we did tonight.”
Bowman and Tate said Showman helped with practice plans from afar in the two days leading up to the game.
“He called in one day and told us what practice was going to be like,” Bowman said. “He had a film session with us (Tuesday) when we scout (the other team), he was there running that by Zoom. He definitely had a hand in this victory.”
Tate said she wasn’t nervous until just before halftime.
“We had a lot of turnovers the second quarter and I was like ‘what do I need to do, what do I need to say, what do I need to bring?'” she said. “We talked as a team and coach Harper and I didn’t need adjust anything, we just needed to give them encouragement and tell them ‘there’s nothing we’re doing out there that’s wrong, we just need to make sure we dig deep and execute offensively and defensively.'”
Bowman said the Coyotes made the necessary adjustments the second half.
“We talked about defensive intensity and our rotation needed to better in our zone,” she said, “and we needed to just calm down and take better care of the ball and stop turning it over as much and stop getting so rushed.”
Amanda Hill (SR/Rossville, Kan.) led KWU with 19 points and had nine rebounds, four assists and two steals. Hind had yet another monstrous game finishing with 12 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocks and LaMyah Ricks (SO/Shawnee Mission, Kan.) added 11 points, five rebounds and three steals.
The Coyotes shot 43 percent from the field (22 of 51), were 23 of 30 at the foul line and won the rebounding battle 45-36 which helped them overcome 18 turnovers.
No Bethany player scored in double figures but three scored nine. The Swedes shot 33.3 percent (21 of 63), were 8 of 20 at the line and had 15 turnovers.
Wesleyan plays Bethel at 5 p.m. Saturday in North Newton in its next game. The Threshers (5-11, 3-7 KCAC) lost to Saint Mary 68-49 Wednesday in Leavenworth and have lost three in a row.