Nothing seemed to go right for #6 Briar Cliff Wednesday night as the Chargers fell to Northwestern 96-73 in Orange City, Iowa.
The contest was a back-and-forth affair for the first 10 minutes as Briar Cliff led 19-18 around the midway point of the opening half. Northwestern would go on to score the game’s next 10 points and grab a firm lead that carried throughout the rest of the game. The Red Raiders went into the break leading 47-33 and never allowed the margin to close within single digits in the second half.
One bright spot for the Blue and Gold came from Jay Wolfe, who led all players in scoring with 22 points. Wolfe was 8-for-14 shooting and a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line while also leading his team in rebounds with six. The Chargers had issues on the boards as the Red Raiders tallied 44 rebounds to BC’s 24.
Trent Hilbrands was the leading scorer for the victors with 19 points. Steven Kragt was arguably the top performer as he recorded 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists for Northwestern. The Red Raiders were credited with 18 assists as a team, compared to just five for the Chargers. Ethan Freidel was the leader in assists for Briar Cliff with three.
Northwestern finished with better shooting percentages across the board as the Red Raiders connected on 38-of-65 shots from the field (58.5%), 10-of-26 from 3-point range (38.5%) and 10-of-12 from the free throw line (83.3%). The Chargers shot 29-for-66 from the field (43.9%), 7-for-28 on 3-pointers (25%) and 8-of-10 on free throws (80%).
The win improved Northwestern to 8-6 on the year and 3-4 in GPAC play, while Briar Cliff drops to 10-2 with a league mark of 6-2. The Chargers return to the Newman Flanagan Center on Saturday for a nonconference game with Bellevue. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. against the Bruins.
The fifth-ranked Red Raiders from Northwestern were too much for the Briar Cliff Chargers Wednesday night in Orange City, Iowa, as the home team came away with the 87-65 victory in women’s basketball action.
Northwestern came out hot from deep as the Red Raiders drained 7-of-9 3-point shots in the opening quarter and got out to a 29-14 lead. The gap was just three points with less than four minutes to go in the frame, but a 14-2 run including 14 straight points for the Red Raiders padded the lead.
The Chargers continued to fight and scored the first nine points of the second quarter, but Northwestern responded with the game’s next nine points. Briar Cliff would have the 15-10 advantage in the second stanza, but still trailed by double digits heading into the break with Northwestern up 39-29.
The Blue and Gold came out of the locker room and put up the first four points of the second half, but the team was never able to get any closer than the six point deficit as Northwestern took control in the second half.
“The effort is there, but the small things pile up and it turns in to a mountain we can’t climb,” said head coach Mike Power.
Taylor Wagner was the leading scorer for BC with 18 points. She was the only Charger in double figures and tied for the team lead in rebounds with Mya Hendry as both corraled in five boards. Breanna Allen led the team in assists with three.
Northwestern had two players surpass 20 points in the contest as reigning NAIA DII player of the week Darbi Gustafson led all players with 24 points and nine rebounds, while Sammy Blum chipped in 21 points. Jada Cunningham was the top assist getter, finishing with eight.
Briar Cliff shot 27-for-58 from the field for 46.6% and 5-of-11 on 3-pointers for 45.5%. The Chargers connected on 6-of-11 free throws for 54.6%. Northwestern was 29-for-59 from the field (49.1%), 13-for-30 on 3-point shots (43.3%) and 16-for-18 on free throws (88.9%) in the win. Northwestern had a slight edge in rebounds at 33-31, although Briar Cliff finished with more offensive boards (12-11). Northwestern took advantage on more occasions, however, with a 12-8 edge in second chance points.
Briar Cliff turned the ball over 32 times and finished with 10 assists. The Red Raiders tallied 23 assists and were charged with 26 turnovers. Northwestern led in points off of turnovers 34-27.
“Turnovers are killing us,” Power said. “Until we find a way to value the ball, we will have similar outcomes.”
Northwestern moved to 11-1 overall and 7-1 in the GPAC with the win. Briar Cliff dropped to 3-6 in conference play with a 7-6 overall record. The Chargers next games will be in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at the Cruzin Classic as they take on Johnson & Wales at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday and have a 9 a.m. game Monday against Siena Heights.