Coming off three straight road losses, Northwest Missouri State's women re-affirmed Wednesday night they could still dominate one of the MIAA's weaker foes on their homecourt even with a horrid start.
After spotting Lincoln the first 10 points and trailing by three in the opening minute of the second half, the Bearcats put together one of their best all-around stretches of the year to separate for a 77-60 win at Bearcat Arena.
The Bearcats turned a three-point deficit into an 18-point lead with a 23-2 run that occurred in under seven minutes.
Their lead swelled to as many 27 points in a half where the Bearcats shot an absurd 19-27 (.704) from the field, produced 30 points in the paint and went 10-10 (100.0) at the foul line.
"When we're at our best, that's what we want it to look like," said Northwest Missouri State head women's basketball coach Mark Kellogg. "That's the way we want to play. We get our three quarter trap going a little bit, force the issue, force some quick bad shots and limit them to one shot so we can get out and go. It's free-flowing. We have space to operate in the half-court or full-court. I don't know if it was our best (stretch), but that's what we need it to look like."
Northwest improved to 9-5 overall, evened it's league record at 3-3 and put a stop to a three-game slide before another upcoming three-road game swing. Lincoln fell to 7-7 overall and 2-5 in the MIAA.
This was Northwest's third straight double-digit home win in league play over a team picked in the bottom half of the league."
"We wanted to win that game," said Kellogg. "We knew that was a game at home in league and a very winnable game. We knew we needed to play well which we need to play well every game to win. That's kind of the way we feel right now."
The Bearcats' 77 points and 56.9 shooting percentage were both season-highs in conference play.
They also assisted on 18 of their 29 made field goals
The only negatives were 26 turnovers and allowing Lincoln 21 offensive rebounds.
Northwest landed four players in double-figures and nearly a fifth.
Freshman Tember Schechinger and junior guard Meridee Scott shared the team lead in scoring with 15 points. Both were coming off quiet offensive games at Missouri Western Saturday.
Schechinger was 6-10 from the field and added five rebounds and four steals along with six turnovers, all in the first half. Scott was 4-6 from the field and 6-6 at the foul line.
Annie Mathews recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. She had nine during Northwest's huge second half run.
Page 2 of 2 - Ashleigh Nelson followed up her best offensive game of the year with 10 points. Maggie Marnin added nine and five rebounds.
Seniors Ashley Thayer and Alexis Boeh each came off the bench to score six.
"We're a balanced team and we have a lot of different girls that can score in a lot of different ways," said Kellogg. "I think when we're at our best offensively is when we share the basketball. You love to see 18 assists because it means we're giving up the good shots to get the great shots. Job well done for sure to the girls on that."
Lincoln shot 24-65 (.369) overall, 2-10 (.200) from three, 10-18 (.556) at the foul line and turned it over 22 times.
Freddie Sims led the Blue Tigers in scoring with 14 points. Arriana Walker had 11 points.
Both Walker and head coach Nicole Collier were assessed technical fouls.
Walker's came in the first half. Collier's came deep in the second half after the game had already gotten away from Lincoln.
The Blue Tigers scored the game's opening 10 points, forcing an enraged Kellogg to use a timeout less than three minutes in.
Up 10-0, Lincoln went scoreless over the next six minutes, allowing Northwest to draw even at 10.
The Bearcats took a pair of one-point leads later in the half on a putback by Scott and a three by Schechinger.
Following Schechinger's triple, Lincoln scored the next two baskets to go up 28-25.
Scott hit Schechinger for a layup in the final five seconds to make it a one-point game at half.
"I didn't love the first half at all," said Kellogg. "We defended well enough to kind of regroup at halftime then the much better start to the second half kind of blew it open pretty quick."
Lincoln scored the opening basket of the second half before the Bearcats took off, scoring the next eight points on inside baskets by four different players to lead 35-30. After Lincoln scored out of a timeout, Northwest ran off the next 15 points to lead 50-32.
Nelson hit a three, while Mathews and Marnin had three-point plays in a span of three straight possessions.
The Bearcats gained their largest lead of 69-42 with 4:48 left on a layup by Thayer.
Lincoln scored 14 of its 32 second half points over the remaining time to make the final margin closer.