MOUNT PLEASANT – A day after nearly coming back from a 22-point second half deficit, Iowa Wesleyan College closed the deal on a big comeback to defeat Valley City State (N.D.) University 82-74 Saturday afternoon at Ruble Arena.
Jessi Beachey (Jr.-Fisher, Ill.) scored 21 points, all in the second half, and the Tigers hit 78.3% of their shots in the second half. IWC fought back from a 15-point second half deficit to defeat the Vikings and snap a six-game losing streak while improving to 3-6 this season.
For the second straight game at home, Wesleyan made things hard on itself with a poor start to the game. IWC made just 8 of 24 shots in the first half and saw 10 turnovers turned into 17 points as the visiting Vikings controlled play from the start and opened a 36-27 halftime lead. Valley City State converted 13 of 29 shots (44.8%) and out-rebounded the Tigers 21-16 in the first 20 minutes.
Valley City State continued to be in charge early in the second half, scoring the first six points out of the break for its largest lead at 42-27 with 18:31 left in the game. The Tigers started to heat up but the lead hovered around 10 points until IWC went on a 14-4 run capped by a three-pointer by Jill Ginder (Jr.-Olney, Ill.) to finally tie the score at 55-55 with 8:47 left.
VCSU pushed the lead back up to five points before Wesleyan went on what would prove to be the deciding run of the game. The Tigers scored 10 straight points capped by free throws by Ginder to make it 68-63 with 3:57 left.
The Vikings got back within two points but would get no closer in the final minutes. Beachey scored in the post on three straight possessions and Anna Jones (So.-Cornell, Ill.) found Sheray Brown (Jr.-Detroit, Mich.) for a layup at the end of the shot clock to make it 77-72 with 41 seconds left. IWC finished making five of six free throws in the final 25 seconds.
Beachey played just six minutes in the first half before going to the bench with two fouls but finished the game 8-for-11 from the field and 5 of 6 from the free throw line for 21 points. She also added seven rebounds. Ginder also had 13 of her 15 points in the second half and added four assists.
Melanie McCreight (Jr.-Winfield, Iowa) kept Wesleyan close in the first half with 10 of her 12 points, while Jones was the fourth player in double figures scoring with 11 points and also had eight assists. Brown added eight points and led the Tigers with eight rebounds.
IWC made 18 of its 23 shots in the second half and rebounded from its poor first half to wind up shooting 55.3% for the game (26 of 47). The Tigers also made 24 of 31 free throw attempts and came back to outrebound the Vikings 33-30.
Valley City State shot 45%, making 27 of 60 shots. The Vikings, members of the Dakota Athletic Conference, dropped to 4-4 this season.
IWC will begin Midwest Collegiate Conference play on Wednesday when it hosts William Penn University. Game time at Ruble Arena will be 5:30 p.m.
Box score IWC 82 VCSU 74