Womens Basketball: Mount Mercy 66, Waldorf 57

– Poised to score their first win of the season, instead, the Waldorf women’s basketball team was beaten to the finish line by host Mount Mercy in non-conference action Tuesday night.

Controlling play and holding the lead for three-quarters of the contest, the Warriors couldn’t finish off the Mustangs, who found a way late in the game to secure a 66-57 victory over Waldorf.

“When the goin’ got tough tonight, I thought we didn’t respond like I know we can,” Warriors head coach Katie Schutjer said. “We lost a lead and couldn’t buckle down and get it done on the defensive end.”

Waldorf (0-3 overall) grabbed a 13-7 lead in the opening quarter on a Kinsey Tweedy bucket, and forged a 36-21 advantage on two Taylor Fricke free throws right before halftime.

A Michaela Graffunder jumper made it 43-27 with three minutes gone in the second half, and though the host Mustangs (3-0) chipped away, a basket by Ameh Ogbemudia early in the fourth quarter had the Warriors in control, on top 51-43.

But down the stretch Mount Mercy’s pressure took a toll on Waldorf, which committed nine turnovers in the final stanza.

Those miscues also made offense easier for the Mustangs, who shot 10-of-20 in their comeback efforts in the fourth quarter.

“They pressed us in the second half, and I felt that rattled us a little bit,” Schutjer said, adding, “they dug down and found a way to get the win tonight, and we did not.”

A Graffunder bucket gave the Warriors their final lead, up 53-52 with 5 ½ minutes left, before Mount Mercy used a 15-4 finish run to secure the victory.

Fricke led the way for the Warriors with 18 points and nine rebounds, while Morgan Straight added 14 points, and Elizabeth Jenkins had four points and 10 rebounds for Waldorf, which won the rebounding battle 46-41 and outshot the Mustangs 39.3 to 36.8 percent, but lost the turnover battle 23-10 and shot just 3-of-20 from the perimeter.

“We didn’t shoot the 3 well again tonight, which is unfortunate because I know we can shoot it well,” Schutjer said, adding, “offensively, we just still aren’t clicking yet.”

The Warriors return to the court on Friday in an exhibition contest at Minnesota State-Mankato.