Trojans Trouble No. 4 IWU Yet Fall By Four

MARION, Ind. – The Taylor (4-4, 0-2 CL) women’s basketball team traveled across the county to take on No. 4 Indiana Wesleyan (7-2, 2-0 CL), against whom the Trojans nearly worked an upset before falling by a final score of 87-83.

A huge third-quarter Taylor effort, with which the Trojans outscored Indiana Wesleyan 27-12, nurtured a two-point Trojan lead heading into the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, the Wildcats shot a sharp 62.5 percent from the floor down the stretch to establish and secure a lead by the sound of the final buzzer.

As a team, Taylor posted its best shooting performance of the 2022 campaign against its highly-ranked rival, recording a 58.2-percent mark on 55 total shots taken from the floor. Taylor scratched an assist on 22 of its 32 made baskets, while shooting 47.6 percent on 21 shots taken from three-point land.

Junior shooting guard, Claycee West, played a significant role in Taylor’s offensive flow, as the Michigan native posted 20 points on 7-12 shooting alongside eight assists. West pocketed 10 of her points in the fourth quarter alone, fighting to keep the Trojans within reach of the surging Wildcat offense.

Meanwhile, the Taylor bigs, Taylor Westgate and Gretchen Moll, each scored 18 points apiece on a combined 16-22 shooting from the floor. Moll tallied seven boards, two assists, a block and a steal alongside her points, while Westgate flirted with a triple-double by combining a career-high seven assists and six boards with her 18 points.

Ariel Dale and Ava Henson, then, rounded out the Taylor starting lineup by each reaching double-digit point values as well, Dale posting 14 while Henson tallied 11.

Turnovers proved burdensome for the Taylor offense again, however, as 11 first-half miscues paved the way for a 13-point Indiana Wesleyan lead heading into the half. Though a momentous third quarter soon followed, in which Taylor outscored the Wildcats by 15 points while Indiana Wesleyan shot just 25 percent from the floor, Taylor could not complete the upset.

Indiana Wesleyan ripped off a 10-2 run to start the fourth, which ended thanks to a West three-point basket, though a second 8-0 Wildcat run soon followed. With five minutes left to play, Indiana Wesleyan led by 11 points.

Taylor responded with a 10-3 run of its own to draw with four points, after which an Ariel Dale and-one layup and a two-point jumper by West made it an 85-83 game with just 10 seconds to play.

Two clutch Wildcat free throws sealed the game for Indiana Wesleyan at home, though, as the Wildcats went on to win 87-83.

18 total Taylor turnovers led to 31 Indiana Wesleyan points throughout the game, which served as the one major statistical advantage for the Wildcats Tuesday evening. That one advantage proved good enough, however, as Taylor is now 0-2 in Crossroads League play.

Taylor (4-4) is back in action on Wednesday, November 30, when the Trojans host Huntington (3-6, 0-2 CL) inside Odle Arena at 7:00 pm.