Kloster, Lady Blue Jays off to 3-0 start

CONWAY, Ark. — Junior guard Hannah Kloster came off the bench to deliver a game-high 18 points Saturday, directing the Westminster College Lady Blue Jays to a 70-55 win over host Hendrix College at the Hendrix Cliff Garrison Classic.

Westminster stayed unbeaten at 3-0, shooting 52 percent (28-of-54) as a team. The Lady Blue Jays, coming up with 16 steals, also scored 33 points off 27 Hendrix turnovers.

Kloster — making 7-of-10 shots from the field — was one of three players to reach double figures for Westminster, which pulled away after leading 29-22 at halftime. Sophomore guard Leigh Ann Lutz also logged 16 points, going 5-of-10 from the field — including 4-of-7 from 3-point range — and converting both of her free-throw attempts. Lutz handed out a team-high six assists.

Junior guard Kenna Cornelson also contributed 13 points for the Lady Blue Jays, who committed 15 turnovers. Senior guard Rachel Backes grabbed a team-high six rebounds as Westminster was outrebounded 34-26.

Avery Roller finished with 12 points to guide Hendrix (1-2), which shot just 38 percent (16-of-42) from the field. Jamie Tate came off the bench to add 11 points and a game-high nine rebounds.

In Friday night’s tournament opener, Cornelson broke out for a career-high 28 points to spark the Lady Blue Jays’ 78-69 comeback victory over Rhodes College.

Cornelson finished 7-of-10 from the field — going 2-of-4 on 3-pointers — and knocked down 12-of-13 free throws as Westminster erased a 35-28 halftime deficit.

Kloster responded in a reserve role again, providing 16 points and eight rebounds. Senior center Liz Klaffenbach had 11 points and five rebounds.

Meanwhile, the Lady Blue Jays were chosen to repeat as St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champions in the 2011-12 coaches’ preseason poll released Thursday. Westminster is entering its fifth season under head coach Tracey Braden, who at 59-44 is the winningest women’s coach in school history.

The Lady Blue Jays went 20-6 in the 2010-11 season, establishing a school record for wins, and won their first-ever SLIAC title.

Westminster doesn’t play again until Nov. 30, when it travels to St. Louis for its conference opener against Webster University. Tipoff is 6 p.m.

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