PELLA—The offense was an early no-show and a persistent second-half effort couldn’t overcome a lethargic start in the Central College women’s basketball team’s lopsided 95-63 loss to Simpson College Saturday.
Missing 19 of their first 22 shots, including their first 12 3-point tries, the Dutch (12-10 overall, 4-9 American Rivers) were out of it early Saturday, staring at a 27-4 deficit less than nine minutes into the game. Simpson (16-5 overall, 8-4 conference) extended its cushion to 49-16 at halftime. Central shot an icy 15.8% in the first period and 26.7% in the second. The Dutch were 1-of-20 from 3-point range in the half.
After hanging with Simpson 72-59 on the road Jan. 11, coach Joe Steinkamp was hoping for better.
“We actually did a better job against their press than we did the first time, but when you go 1-for-20 against that zone, that makes it tough,” he said. “When you miss a shot, then they can get out in transition and that’s when they’re at their best. If you do make some of those shots, you’re able to set up your defense and then you have a better chance to slow them down. So it snowballs.”
Simpson hit 66.7% in the first period and 50.7% for the game.
“I was disappointed in how we defended,” Steinkamp said. “In the first half, especially, I thought they were able to get in the paint too easily.”
But Central put up a 47-point second half to limit the damage.
“When you get down that much at halftime, it’s really hard,” Steinkamp said. “Our goal was to score better in the second half and we were able to do that. Again, a lot of it, it sounds simple, but it’s just making some shots.”
Guard Kelsea Hurley (freshman, Scottsdale, Ariz., Desert Mountain HS) had three second-half 3-pointers and finished with 17 points, seven assists and eight rebounds.
“She had another great stat line,” Steinkamp said. “She had a nice all-around game.”
Steinkamp cited another freshman guard, Carson Fisk (Searsboro, Lynnville-Sully HS), who had nine points.
“Carson had five assists and was able to score in transition in the second half,” he said. “And she was able to make it really hard for those good shooting guards to score.”
Forward Kendall Brown (senior, Moravia) had eight rebounds but Central was outboarded 41-36. The Dutch shot 39.7% for the game and 28.6% from 3-point range.
Central plays its home-season finale Wednesday, a women’s-men’s doubleheader with Luther College starting at 5:30 p.m. at P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium. Central was outshot at Luther 79-41 Jan. 8. The Norse walloped Nebraska Wesleyan 102-76 at home Saturday to improve to 12-8 overall and 10-3 in league play.
“Luther is another pressing opponent and one of the best teams in our conference,” Steinkamp said. “Hopefully we can learn from some of the things that happened today. We want to grow and be able to play a 40-minute game against a good team.”