OSKALOOSA – Jessi Beachey (Jr.-Fisher, Ill.) returned to the starting lineup with 24 points to help Iowa Wesleyan College own play inside and defend its national ranking with a tough 72-57 win at William Penn University Tuesday night.
Beachey made her first start in over two weeks, returning from a knee injury and making 9 of 12 shots and 6-for-7 from the free throw line, helping IWC to a 40-26 advantage in points in the paint. The Tigers, ranked 15th in the most recent NAIA Division II coaches’ poll, finally pulled away midway through the second half and won for the 13th time in 14 games, improving to 15-7 overall, 8-1 in the Midwest Collegiate Conference.
Wesleyan shot 51.9% for the game and had a 41-26 rebounding advantage in the game played Tuesday night after weather forced the postponement of Monday’s originally scheduled game. The Tigers also got 20 points from Melanie McCreight (Jr.-Winfield, Iowa) and received an unexpected lift from Sheray Brown (Jr.-Detroit, Mich.). Brown missed Saturday’s game at Waldorf with a sprained ankle and was not expected to play at Penn, but came off the bench with six points and 10 rebounds.
The win did not come without a fight, as the two teams swapped the lead nine times and were tied four other times before IWC asserted control. The Tigers had some struggles in the first half against the pumped-up Lady Statesmen and their active zone defense, turning the ball over 13 times. Wesleyan was able to establish play in the post with Beachey and Sherry Zehner (Sr.-St. Louis, Mo.) combining for 16 points in the half as the Tigers took a 33-29 lead into halftime.
William Penn hung tough early in the second half, taking the lead twice and still trailing by just two when Carleigh Hobson hit a layup to make it 48-46 with 11:09 left. On the next possession, though, Brown rebounded a McCreight miss and muscled in the putback, and that basket started a deciding 20-2 run over the next seven minutes. McCreight hit three three-pointers and added a layup in that span, in all scoring 15 of her 20 points in the second half.
Anna Jones (Jr.-Cornell, Ill.) joined Beachey and McCreight in double figures with 11 points and also added nine rebounds and seven assists. Jill Ginder (Jr.-Olney, Ill.) also had five points and six assists and more importantly helped Wesleyan hold Penn’s Christa Subbert in check for the most part. Subbert came into the game fourth in the MCC in scoring and had 15 points, one under her average, but scored just five in the second half.
The Tigers shot 28 of 54 for the game and held the Lady Statesmen (13-10 overall, 5-4 MCC) to 36.2% shooting (21 of 58). Samantha Darley tied Subbert for the scoring lead for Penn with 15 points, but no other WPU player had more than seven points. IWC swept the regular season series between the two teams, previously winning the first meeting at home on Dec. 2.
IWC will take the court again Thursday night, returning home to face Clarke College in another MCC matchup. Game time at Ruble Arena will be 5:30 p.m. The games will be broadcast live on KILJ FM 105.5 in Mount Pleasant or online at www.kilj.com.
For more information regarding the IWC basketball programs or any of the Tiger athletic teams, contact sports information director Adam Glatczak (319-385-6306 phone; 319-385-6384 FAX; email@example.com e-mail) or log on to IWC's athletics web site at www.iwc.edu/athletics.
Box score #15 IWC 72 WPU 57