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Patience, composure, communication, and heart are all keys to playing quality basketball but they are even more important when taking on a nationally ranked team that came into this game undefeated. The Lady Falcons brought all of these keys into Thursday night's game against the Lady Coyotes in the Mabee Arena.
In the first half, sophomore guard Ashley Mills came off the bench with a fire which had not been seen in the season thus far. Mills shot five for six from the field, two for two from three point range, and was a perfect two for two from the free throw line to give her 14 points at the end of the first half.
Mills was not the only Lady Falcon to have the hot hand. Overall for the first half, Friends shot 53.6% from the field, 50% from the three point arc, and 71.4% from the free throw line. This strong offensive output helped the Lady Falcons to a lead of four at half with a score of 38 to 34.
With 2:56 left in the game, Friends found themselves down by with a score of 73-63. All four keys to success became apparent for the Lady Falcons at this point in the second half. Friends patiently ran through their offense to create good shots. The Falcon guards realized they needed to work the ball inside to Marshall and were patient and composed enough to get the ball inside to sophomore post Abril Marshall. Marshall, went to work on offense in the second half by getting strong post position in the low block. This interior post game also earned Marshall multiple trips to the free throw line with less than two minutes left in the game. Marshall went a perfect seven for seven in the second half from the free throw line and ended up nine for ten for the game.
On the defensive side, they went to work creating solid ball pressure, communication on defensive rotations, and boxing out strong on every possession. Senior Tavi Davis and freshman Sarah Munds had five and four steals respectively. It was a team defensive effort that really helped the Falcons. The tough defense held three of the Coyotes starters to under their season scoring averages.
Digging deep on defensive, giving everything, and having heart is what created this upset. In the final 2:15 of the game, the Lady Falcons held KWU scoreless while rattling off 10 unanswered points. Marshall tied the score at 75 with 25 seconds left and then Minta Whetstone knocked down a huge three point shot which became the eventual game winner with 2.3 seconds left.
KWU took a timeout after the Whetsone shot. The Coyotes got one last desperation shot from Shelby Babcock who attempted a game-tying three that hit off the backboard but did not go in.
This was truly a balanced offensive effort by Friends. Five players were in double figures for the Falcons and two of those five were not even starters. Ashley Mills was the Falcon's leading scorer with 18 points. Abril Marshall had her second double-double for the season with17 points and 16 rebounds. Davis ended the game with 15 points, five rebounds, and five steals while fellow starting guard Whetstone had 10 points on the evening. Junior guard Bre Selves added 10 points and five boards. Jessika Crews worked hard on the boards and ended the game with 11 rebounds.
The Falcons now move to 9-8 overall and 4-3 in conference. On Saturday, January 15 the Lady Falcons travel to Hillsboro to take on Tabor College who is currently 6-11 overall and 3-4 in KCAC play. Game time is set for 5pm.