MT. PLEASANT — The Iowa Wesleyan women’s basketball team opened up their season on Wednesday night at Olan G. Ruble Arena. The Tigers fell in nonconference play to Monmouth College, 98-74.
IW was shorthanded in their first game due to injuries. IW doesn’t currently have a healthy post, so all seven players who appeared for the Tigers were guards, putting the Tigers at a major disadvantage in the height department.
Monmouth jumped out to a fast start, taking advantage of IW’s lack of size in the first quarter. IW did shoot well in the first period, hitting five three-pointers in the first five minutes, three of which came from Morgan McCrea.
The Tigers led 15-14 after McCrea’s third trifecta of the half, but Monmouth caught fire and ended the first period on an 18-0 run. After one period, it was 32-15 Scots.
IW climbed back to within four points in the second period. Allie Massner scored 12 points over a six-and-a-half minute stretch, and the Tigers were within two baskets at 34-30 and 36-32.
“I think you saw them settling in a little bit,” said head coach Temaine Wright, who was coaching his first game as a Tiger. “A bunch of new players, new coach, new system. Everything was just new, and this environment is new. I think they just settled in a little bit and found their rhythm. Now it’s just about trying to sustain that.”
The Scots went on another big run, taking as much as a 13-point lead before the half was over, but IW cut it back down to six points on a couple of Harriet Fowler free throws with 38 seconds left. Monmouth scored four points in the final 31 seconds of the second quarter and led 49-39 at halftime.
The Scots were able to put the game away in the third quarter, outscoring IW 28-17 in that time period. Monmouth also won the fourth quarter, 21-18.
“I saw a lot of fight, which was something I was concerned about, just because we haven’t had the numbers in practice,” said Coach Wright. “They showed that they can fight and they can compete despite the short numbers.”
Massner finished the night with a team-leading 26 points. McCrea, a transfer from Millsaps College, impressed with 25 points and seven rebounds.
“(McCrea) brings hard work and some winning experience,” said Coach Wright. “At the last school she was at, she was able to help lead that team to a conference championship, and she was a first-team all-conference player. She’s a hard worker, a great person, and would run through a wall for anybody.”
Maddie Williamson, a 2019 Mt. Pleasant grad, scored 13 points in her college debut. Fowler finished the night with eight points and five assists, and Kieley Allen had two points. Other players to see the floor for IW were Da’Jaah Swolley and Deericka Martin.
The Tiger women’s basketball team fell to 0-1 to start the season. They’ll hit the road this weekend to play Quincy University in Quincy, Illinois, on Sunday, Nov. 17. That game has a 1 p.m. start time.