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Vikings pull away from Warriors in opener

By Matt Oliver

DES MOINES – A second-half surge allowed Grand View University to pull away for a 79-49 win over the Waldorf College women’s basketball team during Friday’s season opener in the Grand View Classic.

“We played a very seasoned, veteran team on their home court,” Waldorf coach Katie Schutjer said. “I thought they came out a little stronger than us, especially in the second half.”

Mackenzie Gott led the Warriors (0-1) with nine points. The 5-foot-11 senior forward from Oskaloosa pulled down five rebounds and also blocked two shots.

Junior point guard Miriah Carruth provided eight points in her Waldorf debut. The Warriors received six points apiece from junior Mikaela Vega, freshmen Samantha Birkes and Taylor Fricke.

Waldorf freshman Ameh Ogbemudia added five points. Freshman Taylor Kurtz scored four points, freshmanMeriel Leavy finished with three points and junior Jenna Quina contributed two points.

Kurtz and Fricke helped on the boards, grabbing five rebounds each. Birkes handed out two assists.

Britny Halleland poured in a game-high 18 points for the Vikings (1-0), who had three players score in double figures. Halleland had the hot hand, shooting 7-of-12 (58.3 percent) from the field and 4-of-8 (50 percent) from 3-point range. Aisle Quinlan dropped in 13 points and Renise Collier netted 10 points.

“They had some of their leaders step up for them and hit big shots,” Schutjer said. “Their leadership and experience outplayed us.”

Grand View’s Tyler Nashert turned in eight points, 10 assists and seven boards. Taylor Bianchi also scored eight points. Emily Bell finished with seven points. Maddie Westergard had six points, five blocks and ripped down 15 rebounds to lead the Vikings to a 47-35 advantage on the boards.

The Warriors trailed 16-11 after one quarter, but came charging back. A layup from Gott trimmed Grand View’s lead to 28-23 with 3 minutes, 52 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Six unanswered points boosted the Vikings to a 34-23 halftime advantage.

Waldorf pulled to within nine points early in the third quarter, but that was all the closer the Warriors would get. Grand View pulled away, outscoring Waldorf 45-26 in the second half.

The Vikings shot 47.1 percent, going 33-of-70 from the field and 12-of-26 (46.2 percent) from downtown. The Warriors went 18-of-58 (31 percent) from the floor and 5-of-19 (26.3 percent) from behind the arc.

Production down low keyed the Vikings, who outscored the Warriors 32-20 in the paint and cashed in with a 15-4 advantage in second-chance points.

Waldorf converted on 57.1 percent of its free-throw attempts, finishing 8-of-14 from the line. Grand View went 1-of-6 (16.7 percent) at the charity stripe.

The Warriors committed 15 turnovers, leading to 18 points for the Vikings. Grand View turned the ball over eight times and Waldorf generated eight points off turnovers.

It was a tight contest early and the Warriors displayed promising signs. Eleven players stepped onto the court for Waldorf for the first time.

“We showed some good spurts, but lack of experience and mental toughness hurt us in the second half,” Schutjer said.

The Warriors look to bounce back as they close out the Grand View Classic on Saturday against Mount Mercy University (0-1) at 4 p.m.