MOUNT PLEASANT – The Iowa Wesleyan College women’s basketball team hit 11 three-pointers and held AIB College of Business to 28% shooting in opening its season with a 76-40 win Wednesday night at Ruble Arena.
The Tigers, ranked 12th in the NAIA Division II preseason Top 25 Coaches’ Poll, got a career-high 27 points from Melanie McCreight (Sr.-Winfield, Iowa) and never trailed in defeating the Eagles in the first-ever meeting between the two schools. IWC also opened its season with a win for the sixth straight year and won the first of two meetings this year against AIB, a Des Moines college and new NAIA member which will join the Tigers and their rivals in the Midwest Collegiate Conference next year.
Wesleyan got a stout defensive effort, holding the Eagles to 14 field goal makes in 50 attempts and forcing 26 turnovers. The Tigers also finished the first half strong, outscoring AIB 22-3 over the final 10:49 of the half to take a 41-17 halftime lead.
IWC shot the ball well in the first half, particularly from behind the three-point arc in the first half. Wesleyan made 50% of its shot in the first 20 minutes (13-for-26) and made seven of 12 three-point tries in building a big lead. McCreight, Abby Brend (Jr.-Ogden, Iowa) and Adilene Villalobos (Jr.-Tucson, Ariz.) all hit a pair of triples to help the Tigers pull away in a typically sloppy first half of the opening game of the season for both teams.
The Tigers made sure AIB would not get back into the game as McCreight scored five straight points to open the second half and create a 29-point lead. Wesleyan would cruise the rest of the way, never leading by less than 25 points and getting its biggest lead at the end as reserve Kaysee Grogan (Fr.-New London, Iowa) hit a three-pointer with 1:20 remaining for the final points of the game.
McCreight carried the scoring load for Wesleyan, making 9 of 17 from the field, including 4 of 8 three-pointers. Jill Ginder (Sr.-Olney, Ill.) was the only other player in double-figures and played a strong all-around game with ten points, ten rebounds and four assists.
Sheray Brown (Sr.-Detroit, Mich.) added a team-high 11 rebounds as Iowa Wesleyan finished with a 53-36 rebounding advantage. The Tigers shot 39.1.% from the floor for the game (25 of 64) and hit 11 of 27 three-point attempts (40.7%).
Caitlin Hagarty led AIB (0-1) with 11 points and added seven rebounds. Amiee Brown led the Eagles in rebounding with 11 boards. AIB, a school of 1,000 students that offers two-year and four-year degrees, recently was approved to join the MCC as an associate member starting next year and will begin league play in 2010-11.
The Tigers next will take to the road this weekend for the Morningside College Classic in Sioux City, where they will face a pair of nationally ranked teams. IWC will open against #21 ranked Hastings (Neb.) College on Friday at 5:30 p.m., and then will face fifth-ranked Morningside on its home court on Saturday at 3 p.m.
Box score #12 IWC 76 AIB 40