Tanksley grabs double-double as Owls move to 3-1

Courtesy of William Woods University Athletics. (Contributed Photo)

POINT LOOKOUT -- Behind a dominant performance on the offensive glass and a double-double (21 points and 16 rebounds) by Aiyanna Tanksley, William Woods (3-1) downed Southwestern Christian (3-1) 70-63 on Friday night.

The Owls outrebounded the Eagles 35-25 on the defensive end, and both teams pulled down 19 offensive boards, but WWU converted 25 second-chance points on the night to just 12 for SWCU.

Southwestern Christian found the first basket of the evening, forcing a turnover after Woods controlled the opening tap. Allison Kennedy knocked down a jumper on the pass from MJ Case, but the lead would last 22 seconds.

Jersee Wren knocked down a triple on WWU's next trip down the floor to put the Owls up 3-2, then pushed the lead into double figures with just over a minute left in the quarter, converting all three free throws after drawing a foul by Tresha Yager.

After an Eagle basket closed the gap to 19-11 to end the first, Tanksley scored five straight points as the Owls recorded stops on SWCU's first four possessions of the quarter, stretching the lead to 24-11. The Owls' run was briefly interrupted by a Case 3-pointer as Woods took a 31-14 lead with 6:37 left in the half.

Southwestern Christian could whittle the margin to 37-28 by halftime, but Sydney Booker collected an opening-possession offensive rebound and put Woods back up by double digits. Peyton Dearing found Booker wide open to extend the lead to 52-37 with 3:42 left in the quarter, the largest lead of the second half for WWU.

The Eagles again tried to close the gap, as a 3-pointer by Cassie Colong to start the fourth quarter brought SWCU within seven at 54-47, but Woods kept up the defensive pressure to keep a three-possession lead throughout the final 10 minutes.

WWU connected on 39.7 percent (23-58) of its shots on the night, holding SWCU to 33.3 percent (24-72). Neither team (WWU 3-18, SWCU 4-23) hit particularly well from 3-point range, but the Owls knocked down 21 free throws on 31 trips to just 11 makes on 19 attempts for the Eagles.

Woods finishes play in the Lady Cat Classic on Saturday, taking on Southwestern Assemblies of God University at 1 p.m.