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Solid shooting propels Grace past Waldorf

waldorf-warriors-outline_1By Aaron Schneider

OMAHA, Neb. – Grace University avenged an early-season loss, pulling away for an 83-58 victory over the Waldorf College women’s basketball team on Saturday.

The Royals (6-16) turned in a solid shooting performance, hitting 15-of-37 (40.5 percent) attempts from the field to build a 41-25 halftime lead. Grace was on target the rest of the way, going 17-of-33 (51.5 percent) from the floor to finish the day with a 32-of-70 (45.7-percent) shooting effort.

The Warriors (1-18) struggled from the field, finishing 19-of-58 (32.8 percent) in the loss.

Waldorf’s Meriel Leavy notched a career-high 20 points. The 6-foot freshman from Marshalltown shot 60 percent, going 6-of-10 from the floor and converted on 7-of-10 (70 percent) attempts at the free-throw line.

Sophomore Jessica Denholm added 13 points for the Warriors while freshman Samantha Birkes contributed 11 points and five assists. Freshman Taylor Fricke scored six points and pulled down a team-high seven rebounds. Freshmen Taylor Kurtz and Ameh Ogbemudia tallied three points apiece while freshman Kassidy Bunger turned in two points.

Grace’s Karen Orozco recorded a double-double with game-highs 22 points and 11 rebounds. Orozco also helped on the defensive end by contributing six steals.

Myeshia Ward poured in 20 points for the Royals. Darielle Evans finished with 19 points and Diane Ouedrago closed out the game with 10 points.

Kayla Bloodworth established her presence in the paint by racking up three blocks.

Grace locked down defensively by forcing Waldorf into 18 turnovers and outscored the Warriors 30-14 in points off turnovers. The Royals turned the ball over 11 times.

Grace won the rebounding battle by a 47-37 margin. Seventeen offensive boards keyed the Royals to a 13-10 advantage in second-chance points.

The Royals held the advantage from 3-point range, knocking down 7-of-22 (31.8 percent) attempts. Waldorf hit 6-of-19 (31.6 percent) shots from the perimeter.

The Warriors managed to find the free-throw line 22 times and converted on 14 (63.6 percent) of their attempts. Grace sank 12-of-19 (63.2 percent) shots from the charity stripe.

Waldorf held off the Royals in a 50-45 win on Nov. 21 at Forest City. Following a strong first half, Grace evened the season series in the second meeting by outscoring the Warriors 42-33 in the second half.

Waldorf continues its season on Monday, hosting Clarke University (11-10) in a 5 p.m. tipoff.