After starting nearly all of their previous five Jayhawk West Conference games slowly, Seward County Lady Saints Head Coach Toby Wynn stressed to his team in practice this week the importance of getting out of the gates strong. Well, the eight Lady Saints dressed for Saturday night’s game with Dodge City must have gotten the message as Seward would more than double up the Lady Conqs in the first half before cruising to the finish line with a 69-42 win to pick up their 14th win of the season.
The first two possessions of the game wouldn’t start the prettiest for the Lady Saints who were taking on a Dodge City team looking to break a seven game losing streak. The Lady Conqs would get four shots on their first trip down the court before the Lady Saints could clear the boards and would get another three on their next trip after Seward turned the ball over on their initial try. However, after all of that, Seward trailed by just two points and would quickly even the game up on a well executed pick and roll between Morgan Skomal and Mattie Yanke. That would get the Lady Saints rolling and they would go on a 7-0 run to take the 7-2 lead and would hold the Lady Conqs without a field goal until the 14:42 mark when Kayla Payton hit a three pointer to make it 7-5. Seward would get the lead to 5 but Dodge would chip away as the Lady Saints went cold from the field. The gals in green would go five minutes without a basket as Dodge cut the Seward advantage to just 10-9. After that it was all Lady Saints, as six different players would score for Seward in the next five minutes of action while keeping Dodge off of the board entirely to push the score to 22-9 in favor of the home team. After a Dodge City basket Kelsey Willson would make a three pointer from straight away to put the Lady Saints up 14 and that is where the spread would stand until the final seconds of the half when Yanke buried a corner three to put Seward up 32-15 as the teams hit the half. The Lady Saints defense was suffocating in the first 20 minutes, holding Dodge City to just 4 field goals and 19% shooting in the period while shooting 44% themselves and turning the ball over just 6 times.
Dodge City would get the first points of the second half but Seward would get the next nine to take their largest lead to that point at 41-17. After the Lady Conqs got to back within 17, Ashlynn Knoll would finish on the break and Autumn Miller would hit a corner three on Seward’s next trip to put them up 49-27 with 11:29 to go in the game. The Seward lead would continue to swell through the middle part of the second half and after a bucket inside by Mariah Lee with a dish from Kayla Thomas the Lady Saints led 60-32 with under six minutes remaining. The Lady Saints would pull up the reigns from there and coast to the final horn where they would win the game 69-42.
Coming into the matchup having struggled mightily on the offensive end as of late, the Lady Saints shot a season high 47% from the field on 25 of 53 shooting while keeping up their pressure on the defensive end, allowing just 26% shooting to the Lady Conqs while forcing 24 turnovers. Skomal led the Lady Saints with 16 points and 5 rebounds while Willson pitched in 11 off the bench for Seward. Knoll and Lee each scored 10 and Hanna Bognar retook the Jayhawk West lead in blocked shots over with 5 rejections in the contest.
Next up on the slate for the Lady Saints is a trip to the Perryman Center on Wednesday at 5:30 for a tussle with a dangerous but underachieving Garden City squad who will enter the matchup at just 1-5. After their trip up highway 83 on Wednesday, the Lady Saints will return home to wrap up the first half of conference play when they host Butler on Saturday in the Greenhouse.