Things could not have started any worse for the Lady Warriors on Thursday in their Great Rivers Athletic Conference basketball opener against Southwestern Illinois.
Or finished any better.
Wabash Valley refused to get rattled, even down 13-2 and 26-13 at points in the first half, and began to slowly chip away at the Lady Blue Storm lead.
In the second half, Andriana Moore and Tyshee Towner took control as WVC grabbed the lead and never looked back in a 67-60 win in the league opener for both clubs.
“We did not do a good job converting in the first half,” said Lady Warrior coach Zach Loll of the team’s 28 percent shooting in the first half. “We got some good shots but didn’t put them down.”
Loll said WVC “made a couple of adjustments at halftime” to gain control of the tempo of the game. “We thought we were better conditioned and had better athletes. That gave them some trouble in the second half.”
Wabash Valley (4-3, 1-0 in GRAC) trailed 32-24 at halftime but went on a 10-2 tear to open the second half which tied the game at 34-all.
A nifty inside spin move to the basket by Moore, a 6-foot-2 sophomore from East Chicago, Ind., gave WVC a 44-42 lead at the 11 minute mark. Towner followed with a layup.
Moore scored six points in a row — on a rebound basket, a 13-foot jumper and two free throws — to put Wabash ahead 63-56 with 2:36 remaining.
Towner, a 5-foot-8 freshman guard from Aurora, Ill., finished with a game-high 22 points, followed by Moore’s 19.
WVC shot a little better in the second half but still finished 20-of-58 for only 34 percent on the night. The Lady Warriors were only 1-of-10 from the 3-point line.
Southwestern (3-1, 0-1) was led by Laura Litchfield with 16 points. Lateesha Deloach added 12.
The Lady Storm couldn’t keep up the pace from beyond the arc line in the second half. After nailing 42 percent of their 3-pointers in the first half, Mike Juenger’s team fell to 28.6 percent accuracy, and 7-of-19 overall.
Wabash Valley has the weekend off, and hits the road Tursday for a GRAC game at Southeastern Illinois.