The McPherson College women are just a different basketball team at home.
Mac has now won five straight at home, four of them in down-to-wire fashion.
The latest Sport Center success came on Saturday as the Bulldogs held off Southwestern 65-59 to complete a sweep of the season series after Southwestern had dominated them the previous five years.
Mac is now 5-6 in the KCAC and in a three-way tie for fifth place with Saint Mary and Ottawa. The Bulldogs are 8-12 overall, but 6-2 at home, where they play four of their next six games.
The Bulldogs let a 14-point third-quarter lead evaporate as Southwestern tied the game at 56-all with 2:17 remaining.
But Ashton Bruner and Bailey Brown made big plays down the stretch as Mac used a 9-3 run to close out the game. Both did at at each end of the court with key shots offensively and defensive stops.
“I know Southwestern is a team that never quits,” said Mac coach Gordon Reimer, whose Bulldogs were up 48-34 near the end of the third quarter. “I told them in the (third-quarter) break that you’re going to have to come out and lock down and play hard because they’re going to make a charge at you and they did. I really like how responded to that.”
Jordyn Miller led Southwestern’s comeback with 14 of her 28 points in the fourth quarter. Taylor Bleumer came off the bench to score 17, 14 of those in the second half as those two players basically shouldered the load. Jana Reichenberger added 10, but none of those came in the second half. That trio scored all but four of the Moundbuilders’ points.
Bruner was outstanding for the Bulldogs. She scored 15 points and pulled down the same number of boards for a double-double, while also blocking three shots.
“I think she’s made a lot of double-doubles on the year and we really needed her to step up,” Reimer said. “Southwestern is a post-dominated team with a lot of size and they really created a lot of problems for us.”
Brown scored 14 and as usual got to the line, making 8 of 11. The Mac bench, which scored 14 of the team’s 16 first-quarter points, contributed 24 to the win as nine players scored.
The Bulldogs have a huge game coming up here Wednesday as last-place Bethel comes to town, but the Threshers have been playing everybody close and could easily be 5-6 instead of 2-9. They have one of the KCAC’s top players in guard Lauren Ulrich.
Mac (65) — Bruner 15, Allen 5, Brown 14, S. Smart 7, Battle 7, Racette 3, G. Smart 9, McClellan 2, Kelly 3.
SW (59) — Reichenberger 10, Miller 28, Bleumer 17, Parker 1, Lovell 3.