Wednesday night’s Jayhawk West Conference game could have two different lines depending on how you looked at it. If you looked at the two teams conference records, Seward 6-0 and Garden 5-1, with just an overtime loss to #15 to keep them from being unbeaten, you would think it was going to be a pretty good game. But, if you looked at the teams overall records, Seward 19-1 and Garden 9-11, you would think another Lady Saints blowout was coming. In the end, the offensive shootout that ensued would favor a high octane Lady Saints squad who nearly put triple digits on the scoreboard in getting their 20th win in 21 chances this season.
Garden City came in fearless against the country’s 10th ranked Lady Saints and took a 4-0 and then 10-5 lead early in the game. Seward would take its first lead of the game with 12:17 remaining in the half when Kendra Spresser would rebound her own miss and score to put the Lady Saints up 11-10. Garden’s Marisela Rodriguez and Seward’s Nadia Rosario would trade buckets inside to keep the margin the same but LaMesia Abbott would slash through the lane and score moments later to put Garden up by one 14-13. The next three minutes were all Lady Saints as Seward went on an 11-2 run to take an 8 point, 24-16 lead, while holding Garden City without a made shot from the field. After a nice hustle play by Cheree Freeman to run down Morgan Skomal on a fast break and prevent an easy layup, Spresser would find an open Rachel Barnes who buried a three from the wing to give the Lady Saints their largest lead of the half at 35-22. The Lady ‘Busters would chip away at the lead and get it to 6 with two minutes remaining in the half but Barnes scored 4 points in the final minute, including a pair of free throws as time expired to put Seward up 10 as the teams headed to locker room at half, 45-35. The Lady Saints outshot the Lady ‘Busters 57-46% in the first half but 9 offensive rebounds for the visitors led to 10 second chance points to keep them in the game.
Vaneza Junior would score twice for Seward in the opening minute of the second half and push the lead to 14 and then Rachel Barnes and Nadia Rosario would score on dishes from Junior and Sheila Washington to give the Lady Saints the first 8 points of the half and open up an 18 point advantage. The Seward lead would remain in that area for much of the half until a 5-0 run with just under 7 minutes left to go up 25 at 82-57. Another pair of back to back layups from Junior would give Seward their largest lead of the night at 27 and they would hold the 20+ point lead until the last moments of the game when Garden would cut it to 19 with a thee pointer to make it 96-77 where it would stand when the final buzzer sounded and Seward picked up its 20th win for the 18th straight season.
The Lady Saints shot 57% as a team on the night including burying 43% of their three point shots but for the second straight game struggled from the free throw line shooting just 55%. Garden knocked down 49% of their shots and 3 of 5 three point attempts and left 7 points at the charity stripe going 10 for 17. Seward was led by a very strong performance from Rachel Barnes who finished just one point short of her career high with 29 to go along with 6 rebounds and 5 assists while Nadia Rosario put up one of her better efforts as a Lady Saint with 17 points and 7 rebounds while working against 6’4 Marisela Rodriguez. Vaneza Junior scored 11 of her 15 points in the second half and Megan Lassley continued to be one of the best distributers in the conference as she finished with 13 points and 7 assists. For the third straight game Toby Wynn got good production off of his bench as Liz Ginther led the way with 8 and Kendra Spresser chipped in 7. Rodriguez paced Garden with 18 points and 10 rebounds while Cheree Freeman continued her strong play against the Lady Saints scoring 15 points and grabbing 6 rebounds.
The win pushes the Lady Saints to 20-1 on the season and more importantly a perfect 7-0 in Jayhawk West Conference play. The 20-1 mark is the best since the 2006-2007 Lady Saints started 24-1 en route to finishing the season 36-2 and a 3rd place finish at the NJCAA National Tournament. The Lady Saints will go on the road this weekend for a Saturday/Monday schedule with Butler and #23 Hutchinson before returning home Wednesday against Barton County to start a three game home stand.

BOX SCORE
GAME NIGHT PHOTO GALLERY (click on thumbnail to scroll through pictures)