On Wednesday, the women’s basketball team routed the visiting Briar Cliff Chargers 101-75. With the victory, the third-ranked Raiders now stand at a 21-2 record and in sole possession of first place in the GPAC.
Northwestern stormed out of the gates on a 13-0 run and never looked back. At one point, the Raiders had a 23-5 lead over Briar Cliff. The Chargers cut the margin to just 35-30, but NW finished the half with a 48-36 lead. Senior guard Mackenzie Small and sophomore guard Morgan VanDerSloot both knocked down threes to push the NW lead.
In the second half, NW controlled both ends of the floor and held a 20-point lead for the majority of the final five minutes.
On the defensive end, the Raiders managed to blanket Briar Cliff and held the Chargers to only 35-percent shooting from the floor and only 17 percent from three-point.
“As a team, we did a pretty good job of putting pressure on the basketball and forcing them to shoot tough shots,” senior forward Samantha Kleinsasser said.
In contrast, NW was red hot and hit a stellar 51 percent from the floor and nearly 53 percent from three-point.
“We knew that we would see a lot of full-court pressure from Briar Cliff, so we tried to focus on attacking that pressure, which led to some easy shots,” Kleinsasser said.
NW held an advantage in rebounds with a 49-35 edge. The Raiders also capitalized on the Charger’s mistakes with 38 points off of turnovers.
Guard Alli Engebretson led the charge with 25 points. The versatile senior also contributed with seven rebounds and nine assists. Kleinsasser added 21 points and seven rebounds. Junior guard Karen Hutson scored 16 points. Small rounded out the double-figure scoring with 15 and also added seven rebounds and five assists.
“Our goal is to just keep improving every day, whether that’s in practice or in the games,” Kleinsasser said. “We have to worry about the next game that is in front of us instead of what the end of the season will bring, but we are excited to see what God has planned for the rest of it.”
The Raiders return to action Saturday with a conference match against Doane. The game will tip-off at 2 p.m.