Three was a big number for the William Woods Owls women's basketball team heading into Monday night's American Midwest Conference tournament final against the No. 1 seed Columbia College Cougars. They were looking for a third straight tournament title while trying to avoid a third straight defeat to Cougars this season.
Neither one came to fruition as the the 21st ranked Owls - the tournament's two seed - fell victim to a big second half from the Cougars on their way to a 70-54 loss. With the win, the Cougars (28-5) will receive the AMC's automatic bid to the NAIA tournament while the Owls (29-4) will wait for an at-large bid.
Neither team led by more than five points in a back and forth first half that saw the Cougars lead 33-31 at intermission. William Woods senior Rachel Baker - who was later named the 2010-2011 AMC Player of the Year - scored a game-high 19 points but sat much of the first half with two fouls and was saddled with her fourth with 12:40 left in the second half. She was reprieved by junior Miranda Loesch's 12 points.
Columbia College used a 9-0 run to build a 48-40 led right after Baker's fourth foul but they, too, had foul trouble. The Owls were in the bonus right around the 10 minute mark but fell apart at the line, going 11-for-21 at the stripe after the bonus.
Meanwhile, Columbia College hit eight of its final nine free throws. The Cougars got 13 points from freshman guard Heather English and 11 from freshman forward Ashley Fisher.
Junior guard Sharron Andrews was also named All-AMC first team while senior guard Jestine Gerber was an honorable mention selection.
The Owls got over the .500 mark with a sweep of Benedectine at Owls Field on Sunday afternoon. It was William Woods' fourth win of the weekend and put them at 8-7 overall.
Senior Logan Lawson pitched six shutout innings in game one giving up four hits, two walks and striking out three batters. Senior Alex Cann got the save for William Woods striking out two batters.
Freshman Damon Adrian went 1-for-2 with an RBI while senior outfielder L.J. Watson went 2-for-3 with a run scored. William Woods scored all three of its runs in the bottom of the third.
Game two saw the Owls jump out to a 3-1 lead before tacking on six runs in the bottom of the fifth to run away with it. Freshman Matt Thomas pitched four innings, giving up three hits and one earned run. Junior Blake Wilson drove in a run and went 2-for-2 and the Owls got RBI's from Junior Derek McCawley, Adrian, sophomore Ryan Sweet, senior Stephen Thoenen and junior Chris Fletcher.
William Woods opens up American Midwest Conference play on Saturday in games at Williams Baptist College in Walnut Ridge, Ark.
Westminster baseball goes 1-2 in weekend homestand
The Blue Jays opened their home schedule with an 8-1 loss to Buena Vista College on Saturday afternoon. Westminster used three pitchers giving up 11 hits and six earned runs in the loss.
Sophomore Tyler Ten Eyck went four innings and giving up to unearned in the third inning to take the loss. Sophomore right fielder Matt Mallette scored the lone Blue Jays run in the fifth inning after advancing on a wild pitch.
Buena Vista made it a clean sweep of the Blue Jays with a 6-3 win on Sunday afternoon. Westminster junior righty Brandon Zucker pitched six innings and gave up three of his four earned runs in the second inning by way of a homer. Blue Jays senior first baseman Andrew Jett and sophomore designated hitter Kevin Moritz each knocked in a run for the home team.
Grinnell had Westminster down 7-1 in the fifth inning but Westminster bounced back to score eight of the final nine runs scored. Junior left fielder Mike Young scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth on an error from Grinnell shortstop Michael Goldfien.
The Blue Jays (2-3) will play a week of games in Fort Meyers, Fla., starting Saturday night when they take on St. Lawrence at 7 p.m.
William Woods track teams run at NAIA Indoor Championships
GENEVA, Ohio - Sophomore distance runner Ryan Meyer placed 11th of 12 runners in the 5000 meter final at Saturday's NAIA National Indoor Championships. Meyer reached the final by setting a school record in the event, crossing the line in a time of 14:56.73 in Thursday's preliminaries. Meyer's time on Saturday was 15:08.88.
The Owls begin the outdoor season on March 25 at the University of Missouri Invitational in Columbia.
Westminster tennis teams fall to Nebraska Wesleyan on the road
KANSAS CITY - The Lady Blue Jays got swept in the singles competitions and got a lone win in the No. 1 doubles match against Nebraska Wesleyan on Sunday. Freshman Sarah Heeter and junior Megan Slayton beat Nebraska Wesleyan's Andrea Dasliva and Vanessa Johnson 8-5 for the school's only win of the day.
The Westminster men fared a little better, losing to Nebraska Wesleyan 7-2. Both return to the court on Thursday when they host Lindenwood-Belleville at 3 p.m.