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Peru State hangs with Benedictine but Ravens late surge closes game

Staff Writer
Syracuse Journal-Democrat

The Peru State women's basketball team had closed the gap to just one late in the third quarter only to see that effort fall short Wednesday night, Jan. 15.
The visiting Benedictine Ravens held on for a 69-56 win over the 'Cats in Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart) action.
The Ravens, who were receiving votes in the NAIA DI Coaches' Poll – actually 26th overall, improved to 13-4 overall and 7-4 in the Heart. The Bobcats fell to 5-10 on the season and 3-8 in conference action.

First Quarter Action
 After the Ravens scored the first bucket of the game, Alyssa Marsh-Contreras (Omaha) hit a tuck to tie it up. Later, at the 8:17 mark, Giovanna Silva (Brazilia, Brazil) made one of two free throws to give the Bobcats a 3-2 lead.
Benedictine would regain the lead, before Nytasia Braxton (Camden, N.J.) hit a pair of free throws to give the Bobcats a 5-4 lead. That would actually be the last time the 'Cats would lead in the game as the Ravens would go on a 7-0 run to go up 11-5.
 Peru State would keep it close the rest of the quarter and only trailed by two at 17-15 after Maddy McPhillips (Omaha) hit a trey off an assist from Dayna Dewitt (Mansfield, Texas) with 1:48 left in the quarter. Benedictine would score the final three points and would lead 20-15 at the end of the first ten minutes.

Second Quarter Action
Reagan Kirkwood (Valley Falls, Kan.) would hit a bucket to start the second quarter. The Ravens would then go on an 11-0 run to lead 31-17 with 6:20 to go in the second stanza.
Benedictine would twice lead by 16 – at the 5:22 mark and then at the end of the first half where the score was 40-24.

Third Quarter Action
 Marsh-Contreras would get a bucket off a fast break and an assist from Silva to start the second half. Allison Tichy (Bellevue) followed with a trey to make it 40-29. Then, Marsh-Contreras would get another assist from Silva and suddenly, the 'Cats were within single digits at 40-31 with just 85 seconds off the clock.
Later, after the Ravens hit a trey to make it 45-33 with 6:55 to go in the stanza, Peru State started its comeback. A bucket by Marsh-Contreras was followed by a bucket from Dewitt on an assist from Marsh-Contreras to cut the deficit to eight at 45-37 at the 5:21 point.
Claire Cudney (Marysville, Kan.) would hit a bucket after grabbing an offensive rebound and then on the next Bobcat possession, she dished a dime to Olivia Bell (Auckland, N.Z.) to make the score 45-41 with 3:32 left in the quarter. A Marsh-Contreras trey cut the lead to just one, but the Ravens finished the quarter with four points to lead 49-44 after 30 minutes of action.

Fourth Quarter Action
Kirkwood started the quarter with a bucket to cut the lead to three. That would be as close as the Bobcats would be the rest of the way as the Ravens went on an 11-1 run to lead 61-47 with 4:09 remaining in the game.
Peru State would get back to seven after a pair of Tichy free throws at the 1:24 mark, but the 'Cats would not score after that point. Benedictine would finish the game with six points to get the 69-56 win.

Team Statistics
Neither team shot the ball particularly well from the floor, but both shot well from the free throw line. The Ravens made 21-of-64 field goals for 32.8 percent which included hitting just 4-of-26 from behind the arc for 15.4 percent. At the free throw line, Benedictine was 23-of- 31 of 74.2 percent. Peru State was 18-of- 52 in field goal attempts for 34.6 percent and made 4-of-20 from long range for 20 percent. At the charity stripe, the 'Cats went 16-of-22 for 72.7 percent.
Rebounding was dead even as both teams grabbed 36. The Ravens did dish out four more assists as they finished with 12. The Bobcats had the lone blocked shot.
The biggest difference in the contest was ball control. Peru State had 24 turnovers which the Ravens turned into 18 points. Benedictine only had ten miscues and finished with 16 steals. Peru State nabbed six balls.

Peru Individual Statistics
Marsh-Contreras was the only Bobcat to finish in double figures as she scored 20 points. Kirkwood and Dewitt each finished with eight points.
Cudney led the rebounding efforts as she finished with eight. Silva added seven while Braxton contributed six.
Silva led the team with three assists while Cudney dished out two. Keaundra Washington (Omaha) was credited with the lone block. Cudney and McPhillips each had two steals while Silva and Kirkwood each grabbed one.