Iowa Central women back at .500 mark

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Former Humboldt standout Avery Terwilliger drives inside Hodges Fieldhouse earlier this season.

Iowa Central head women’s coach Kelly Kruger believes now is the time to start preparing for postseason basketball.

The Tritons used a key 18-4 run in the second half to top Southeastern here Saturday inside Hodges Fieldhouse, 53-45.

Rachel Toto scored 14 points, Avery Terwilliger added 12 and Sarah Rolling had seven points and 15 rebounds for Iowa Central (14-14 overall, 6-6 in ICCAC).

After fighting back from an early deficit to tie the game at halftime, the Tritons outscored Southeastern (19-9, 6-6) in the third quarter, 19-8.

“We talked about executing our offense and pushing the ball up the floor,” Kruger said of the halftime adjustments. “We gave up too many offensive rebounds (eight) in the first half, so we limited that too.

“(Southeastern) didn’t shoot the ball well, but we did a good job of contesting their shots. The percentages go down when you get a hand up in the face of a shooter.”

The Blackhawks were just 15 of 59 from the floor and missed 24 of the 25 three-point attempts they took. Nadirah Oakman did score a game-high 26 points to lead the way, adding eight rebounds.

Iowa Central struggled alongside Southeastern in the opening 20 minutes, shooting 9 of 23 from the field. In the third quarter, however, they were 8-for-14. Toto, Terwilliger and Emma O’Donoghue all hit triples.

“We played tight in the first half and down the stretch, which we talked about after the game,” Kruger said. “But this is good preparation for the postseason and we have to look at it that way. You have to come out, play and get after it, but you can’t do that tight.

“In the second half, we were looser, got some shots to fall and made plays.”

Leading by four, Terwilliger sank a three-pointer and the Tritons were off to a 23-6 scoring burst that gave them a 48-31 cushion in the fourth. Despite falling behind by 17, the Blackhawks rallied, as Oakman made eight free throws in the fourth quarter, cutting the deficit to eight.

Terwilliger answered with a key bucket as the shot clock expired to pad the advantage.

“Avery had some big buckets, as did Rachel,” Kruger said. “Shots like that elevate you and deflate the opponent.”

Toto also grabbed eight rebounds, with Terwilliger recording six and four assists.

Iowa Central returns to action on Wednesday, hosting Des Moines Area at 5:30 p.m. The Bears (20-9, 7-5) fell to No. 13 North Iowa Area on Saturday, 110-78.

IOWA CENTRAL 53, SOUTHEASTERN 45

Iowa Central — Brittany West 4-9 0-0 9, Mardaeja Cross 1-5 0-2 2, Avery Terwilliger 3-7 4-4 12, Sarah Rolling 3-10 0-0 7, Emma O’Donoghue 2-2 0-0 5, Jaylin Carter 1-4 0-0 2, Kira Ward 0-1 0-0 0, Rachel Toto 5-12 0-0 14, Kryssie Okinaka 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 20-51 4-6 53.

Southwestern — Shakayla Ewing 0-0 0-0 0, Mackenzie Pezley 0-7 2-2 2, Benedetta Morpurgo 1-7 0-0 2, Jasmine Flowers 0-0 0-0 0, Nadirah Oakman 8-15 10-10 26, Andreisha Waller 4-14 0-0 9, Miah Shelby 1-13 1-4 3, Ciera Walker 1-3 1-2 3, Natalie Robinson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 15-59 14-18 45.

Quarter scores: Southeastern led 8-7, Tied 21-21, Iowa Central led 40-29. Three-point goals: Iowa Central 9-18 (West 1-3, Terwilliger 2-4, Rolling 1-2, O’Donoghue 1-1, Toto 4-8); Southeastern 1-25 (Pezley 0-3, Morpurgo 0-4, Oakman 0-2, Waller 1-5, Shelby 0-11). Total rebounds: Iowa Central 45, Southeastern 33. Steals: Iowa Central 6, Southeastern 9. Blocked shots: Iowa Central 2. Team fouls: Iowa Central 22, Southeastern 7. Fouled out: Cross. Turnovers: Iowa Central 22, Southeastern 11.

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