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Warriors Control Their Fate after Win over Swedes


By Sterling College Athletics


STERLING, Kan. -There are some games that mean more in a season than others. Wednesday night’s game was one of those games for the Lady Warriors. In the middle of the gauntlet that is the second half of the KCAC season, Sterling faced the second place team in the league. A win means a two game lead in the league and the tiebreaker, and a loss means a tough stretch of five games where every game matters. Fortunately for the Warriors, they were able to take care of business on their home floor and leave no doubt once again who the top dog is in the KCAC. The Warriors won the battle with the Swedes by a final score of 72-49.

The first quarter was a battle that seemed like it progressed at a snail’s pace. Both offenses seemed to take the time to run through their offensive progressions and Sterling did not run at their typical run-and-gun pace. After several ties in the period, the two teams found themselves gridlocked at 11 with just under 2 minutes to play. Sterling scored the last 5 points of the quarter and did not look back. The Warriors went to the bench with a 16-11 lead. Taya Wilson and Karsen Schultz took the lead for the Warriors while Lauren Carmack came off the bench with energy and active hands and caused some issues for the Swedes.

Thanks to Sterling’s defense, Bethany had a hard time finding the basket early. After a Bethany layup to start the quarter, Sterling went on a 7-0 run to gain some space. Bethany Stucky scored 5 straight points for the Warriors in the stretch. After a Swede basket, Sterling got back to back threes from Bailey Albright and Kali Briar. Briar would hit another corner three before the quarter was over and tack on a couple of free throws for good measure. Briar scored 8 of her 14 points in the quarter and Bethany Stucky scored 7 of her game high 17 points as well. Wilson grabbed 7 rebounds before halftime in her quest to take the all-time rebounding lead. Going into the locker room, Sterling cruised to a comfortable 16 point lead, 38-22. Sterling outscored their opponent tallying two points for everyone that Bethany scored in the quarter.

The third quarter was owned by the usual three for the Warriors. Wilson scored 8 points and had 4  rebounds in the quarter, Albright scored 6 points on 3-5 shooting, and Schultz scored 5 points and added 4 rebounds. Sterling outscored Bethany 19-8 to add to an already nearly insurmountable lead. The Swedes were held to just 3-13 shooting in the quarter. Sterling found themselves on the good side of a surprising 27 point lead after 30 minutes were played. The Warriors were up 57-30 heading into the final frame, a surprise to anyone who has watched a very solid Bethany team over the last month. The last loss they had was to Sterling before the Christmas break, one week shy of two months ago.

If there was any moment of doubt for the Warriors it came in the first 60 seconds for the Warriors. Bethany came out and scored 8 points in 58 seconds with Sterling hitting just one shot in the same stretch. Bethany hit another 3 a minute later and Sterling’s comfortable 27 point lead was cut to 18 in the blink of an eye. Sterling regained their focus and only allowed 8 more points the rest of the night. Stucky maintained the hot hand and scored another 7 points in just 6 minutes on the court. Sterling was outdone by a few points in the final quarter, but never lost control. When the final buzzer sounded, Sterling finished the season sweep of the Swedes 72-49.

All five of the Sterling starters scored in double figures. Led by Bethany Stucky with 17 points, Taya Wilson followed close behind with 16, Kali Briar and Bailey Albright each added 14, and Karsen Schultz tacked on 11. In her quest to become the greatest rebounder in Sterling’s history, Wilson snagged 14 rebounds for another double-double on the season. Albright and Schultz each added 5 assists. Carmack proved to be a commodity off the bench with her high energy and active hands adding 4 rebounds and 2 steals.

Sterling shot 54% from the field, 50% from deep, and just 63% from the charity stripe. In contrast, Bethany shot just 30% from the field and 33% from beyond the arc.

With a two game lead in the KCAC, Sterling controls their fate over the last two weeks of the regular season. Sterling is 19-4 this season and 16-1 in the KCAC. Every other team has at least 3 conference losses. Sterling will play another game in the Gleason Center Saturday against the Bethel College Threshers at 5 pm before heading out on the road next Wednesday to take on Friends.