Hurley scores 18 in Central women’s basketball road defeat


WAVERLY— Freshman guard Kelsea Hurley (Scottsdale, Ariz., Desert Mountain HS) scored 18 points but the Central College women’s basketball team was overwhelmed by No. 10-rated Wartburg College 90-62 Saturday.

Hurley was 7-of-11 from the floor, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range, as the Dutch knocked down 12 3-pointers on the day. But Central (11-9 overall, 3-8 American Rivers) shot just 38.6% overall to Wartburg’s 46.9% and was outrebounded 39-33.

Wartburg (17-3 overall, 9-2 conference), answered with 13 3-pointers and led wire-to-wire, bolting to a 27-12 advantage after just one quarter and extending it to 50-27 at the break.

“They got off to a quick start with their 3-point shooting,” coach Joe Steinkamp said. “We tried to be able to take it away but we just couldn’t adjust to how fast they play.”

Yet Steinkamp was encouraged by Central’s long-range shooting.

“To hit 12 threes again was good,” he said. “When we had some of our success early in the year we were shooting the ball well from three, so it was nice to be able to get back to double-digit threes and see the ball go through the hoop. Hopefully that will spark us for the second half of the season.”

Hurley also had a pair of steals in an improved showing.

“Kelsea had a good all-around game,” Steinkamp said. “She was struggling a little bit lately but she was in the gym all week. She continues to put a lot of work in on her shot so I was really happy for her today.”

Guard Maci Gambell (sophomore, Hedrick, Pekin HS) had eight rebounds while guard Emily Hay (junior, Stanwood, North Cedar HS) had nine points and three assists. But Wartburg was operating in high gear on its home floor.

“Their offense was clicking on all cylinders,” Steinkamp said.

For the first time this season, forward Kendall Brown (senior, Moravia) was not credited with a blocked shot. She still has a league-leading 57 for the year and is just 16 shy of her own school season mark.

Central begins a three-game homestand Wednesday, playing host to the University of Dubuque for a women’s-men’s doubleheader starting at 5:30 p.m. at P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium. The Dutch were 59-46 winners at Dubuque Jan. 15 but the Spartans (6-13 overall, 2-8 conference) knocked off Nebraska Wesleyan University 73-69 on the road Saturday. That puts them a game behind the Dutch in the league standings as Dubuque, Central and Nebraska Wesleyan jockey for the final spot in the six-team conference tournament.

“This is a big one,” Steinkamp said. “Dubuque’s playing really well right now. They had a big win today and they also had very competitive games against Loras and Luther in the last couple of weeks, so they’re playing their best basketball of the year. We’ll have to have a great game plan.”