Wednesday nights Jayhawk West Conference game against Pratt could have been a very easy one for the Seward County Lady Saints to overlook. After all, the Beavers came in just 3-21 on the season and Seward’s biggest game of the season was just around the bend as Cloud County was ahead on the schedule for Saturday. Well, let’s just say that the Lady Saints wouldn’t waste long letting everyone in the Greenhouse, especially the Beavers, that they weren’t looking over this one as they jumped out to 18 points in the first four minutes before going on to nearly clip the century mark in the 99-69 win.
Seward started at a furious pace, rarely letting Pratt get the ball past half court, let alone a good looks at the basket as they raced out to an 18-2 lead just 4 minutes in. The lead was still 16 two minutes later when Morgan Skomal connected from distance to give the gals in green a 19 point cushion. The Lady Saints took their first 20 point lead at the 6:30 mark of the first half when a driving Shelia Washington found Skomal underneath for an easy layup. Seward would push the lead to as many as 23 on just one of many first half buckets from Rachel Barnes and would end the half up 51-30 behind 16 Barnes points and 58% shooting as a team.
Barnes would start the second half much as she closed the first scoring inside on a dish from Nadia Rosario on the Lady Saints first possession. However, Seward slumped offensively through the next 7 minutes, failing to put a shot from the floor in the hoop and Pratt continued their strong play on the offensive end of the court as they went on a 12-3 run to cut the Seward lead to 14 at 56-42. The Lady Saints decided they had had enough of making the game somewhat interesting for their home crowd and went on a 13-1 run of their own, capped by a pair of free throws from Rosario to give them their largest lead of the game at 26. Pratt’s Phylicia Freeman tried to keep the Beavers in it by herself, connecting on three straight baskets including a pair of three’s to get their deficit to back under 20 with 8:06 to go. Seward wouldn’t waste much time in getting that 20 point lead back as Megan Lassley and Rosario connected on back to back possessions and the Lady Saints were back up 22. Up by 20 with 2:35 to go, Seward closed the game on a 14-4 run, including 8 points from Barnes and 4 three pointers from the gals in green to fall just short of the 100 point mark as they came away with the 99-69 win.
Pratt had their best offensive night in conference play scoring 69 points on 46% shooting while Seward scored 99 on 47%. The Lady Saints knocked down 8 three’s in the game and outscored Pratt at the line 23-17. Much of Seward’s 30 point margin of victory came thanks to their 26 forced turnovers and their 19 offensive rebounds compared to just 14 and 5 for Pratt.
Individually the Lady Saints were paced by a career high 34 points from Rachel Barnes who also had 7 rebounds and 6 steals. Morgan Skomal continued her offensive onslaught with a 15 point performance off the bench and has now had her top two career scoring games in the Lady Saints last two wins. Nadia Rosario and Megan Lassley reached double figures with 11 and 10. Narrowly missing a double double was Sumr Robinett who finished with 9 points and a team high 9 rebounds. Pratt star Phylicia Freeman gave her best effort for the Beavers scoring 26 points and grabbing 9 rebounds while Abbey Rudd had a career game with 17 points.
The win sets up Seward’s showdown with Cloud County in Concordia Saturday night as the 24-2, 11-1 Lady Saints will take on the 23-2, 9-2 Lady T-Birds with huge conference title implications on the line. Seward will enjoy an off week after that match up before returning home to take on Dodge City Saturday for homecoming in the Greenhouse.