McPherson College women’s basketball coach Gordon Reimer has realized he doesn’t have the most prolific offensive team.
So Reimer has the Bulldogs concentrating more on the defensive end in hopes of winning low-scoring games.
The Bulldogs were locked in on the defensive end Saturday, as they recorded what has to be considered their signature win of the season with a 52-42 upset of Ottawa University.
The Braves had entered the game in fourth place in the KCAC, still entertaining hopes of a championship. But now 6-4, they’re probably out of the title chase since Friends shows no signs of letting up and Tabor has defeated everybody but the Falcons.
The Bulldogs actually have pulled within a game of Ottawa as they are 5-5 in the KCAC and moved to 10-8 overall after their third straight win.
“When you’re having trouble scoring on the offensive side, it’s really important that your defense locks it up,” said Reimer, whose team held the Braves to just 11 of 43 from the field, including 1 of 10 by Madi Stewart, who came into the game averaging 17 points. “I think we just did a fantastic job of defending tonight.”
Amazingly the Bulldogs never once trailed in the game, though the margin was 3 to 6 for most of the night before Mac scored the final 7 points of the game. Victoria Gonzalez, who had not scored all night, made the key basket of the game with 1:04 left as she gave the Bulldogs a 47-42 lead, then grabbed a rebound that led to a Brooklyn Coe runout and basket that put the game away.
“We switch up our defenses depending if we make shots or miss shots,” Reimer said. “It’s kind of like a matchup zone. I just felt like after the break we had to do something different defensively.”
Coe and Cami Richardson led the Bulldogs with 17 points apiece and Richardson, the Hesston High grad, continued her campaign for KCAC Freshman of the Year with 11 rebounds to complete a double-double.
Ashley Romig scored 17 to lead Ottawa, but only 5 in the second half as the Bulldogs frustrated her constantly by having two players surrounding her. OU also had 21 turnovers to just 14 for Mac. All 42 Brave points came from their starters.
The Bulldogs complete the first half of the conference schedule on Thursday at Southwestern. Mac beat the Builders last year in Winfield on a last-second shot by Ashton Bruner.
Mac (52) — Holt 2, Zimmerman 2, Battle 4, Coe 17, Richardson 17, Kuhn 2, Van Doselaar 4, Kelly 2, Gonzalez 2.
Ottawa (42) — A. Romig 17, Kramer 5, Williams 14, Hendricks 2, Stewart 4.
• OTTAWA MEN 86, MAC 72 — Ottawa had a 19-1 run in the first half and an 11-0 lick in the second half as those two stretches led to Mac’s ninth KCAC loss in 10 games.
Mac coach Tim Swartzendruber could only shake his head when he looked at the stat sheet as the Bulldogs were just 18 of 62 for 29 percent.
“We shot 29 percent. I don’t know what to say,” he said. “I don’t know how we can shoot 29 percent on our home court. Ottawa came in as the worst 3-point shooting team and they were 9 of 21.”
For the game, the Braves were 32 of 57 from the field, 19 of 29 in the second half for 66 percent.
The Bulldogs led 10-7 early, but then went from the 14:45 mark to the 4:25 mark making just one free throw. Though they trailed by as many as 17, they closed the first half on a 21-10 run to trail 36-32.
It was just 41-39 early in the second half, but three straight OU treys keyed an 11-0 run that came in less than 2 minutes and the Braves later led by as many as 21 before Mac made another run to make it respectable.
Chris Crook led Mac with 16 points off the bench, while Thomas Butler (14 points, 10 rebounds) and DeAndre Henson (12 points, 11 rebounds) had double-doubles.
Mac, 7-11 overall, plays at Southwestern on Thursday.
Mac (72) — Butler 14, Rowell 2, Henson 12, Bachura 8, Crook 16, Owen 9, Munsen 7, Gurley 4.
Ottawa (86) — Bullinger 16, Mitchell 15, Hasty 1, Lindsay 7, Rice 18, McKinney 9, Brooks 15, Neidig 2, Brown 1, Stark 2.