The Pilots had a difficult time keeping up with NAIA 15th ranked Indiana Wesleyan’s fast-break offense.
The Lady Pilots started the contest off with a bang, staying right on the heels of the Wildcats. The two squads went back and forth, scoring transition baskets left and right. Kaitlin Elsasser and Jessica Erwin led the Pilots in the first half in scoring with 8 points each.
However, IWU started to pull away in the second quarter, outscoring the Lady Pilots 22 to 12. Indiana Wesleyan’s Anna Imhoff scored 17 points and went three for three in three pointers in the first half alone. She would finish the game with 20 points, two steals, and one assist.
The Lady Pilots found themselves in a hole the rest of the way. After being up in the first quarter off and on, IWU increased the gap and the Lady Pilots never found a way to get back in the game.
The Lady Pilots particularly struggled in the turnover margin, committing 5 turnovers in the first half and 12 total all game. Many of these turnovers led to the transition baskets IWU made throughout the game. The Pilots also struggled at the free throw line, only making 61.1% from the line.
Pilots head coach, Eric Gingerich, addressed his team’s turnovers in an interview after the game.
“We got to the point where we were pushing the ball a little bit more than we normally do,” he said, “Some of those are just attributable to trying to push the ball harder than we’re used to doing and we had to do that because we were down a little. I actually think we took care of the ball fairly well today.”
What specifically did he think they failed to accomplish during the game?
“We wanted to set the intensity level,” he stated, “I think they did a pretty good job of that and we really needed to box well and we did that pretty well throughout the game as well. We let another couple shooters get loose that extended some leads. Honestly, what killed us and took us out of the game was missed free throws and we haven’t done that all year. I think that was out of character for us, but I don’t know if there was anything that we didn’t get to accomplish.”
The few highlights from the Lady Pilots side of the game was Elsasser’s near double-double with 10 points and 8 rebounds. She is now the 19th Lady Pilot in program history to join the 500-rebound club. Kelsey Brickner and Jessica Erwin also put up high scoring performances with 13 points and 14 points respectfully.
The Lady Pilots will be back on the court on Thursday, January 10th away against Spring Arbor. They will look to break a three-game losing streak.