Nov 17, 2022

Missouri Western finishes strong, scores win over Truman State in home opener

Posted Nov 17, 2022 3:58 AM
Brionna Budgets (23) scored a game-high 26 points in Missouri Western's 81-72 win over Truman State on Wednesday night in St. Joseph. Photo by Arianne Boma.
Brionna Budgets (23) scored a game-high 26 points in Missouri Western's 81-72 win over Truman State on Wednesday night in St. Joseph. Photo by Arianne Boma.


St. Joseph Post

The Missouri Western women's basketball team survived a back-and-forth affair for the first 34 minutes of Wednesday's game, and then scored 20 points over the final  six minutes of play to earn an 81-72 win over Truman State at the MWSU Fieldhouse on Wednesday night.

Playing in their home opener, the Griffons (3-2) were locked into a relatively high scoring, blow-for-blow battle with the Bulldogs - a battle that saw seven ties and 11 lead changes.

Missouri Western trailed 55-54 entering the fourth quarter, but a three-pointer by junior Brionna Budgets put the Griffons up 57-55 with 9:33 remaining.

Missouri Western never trailed after that, as Budgets went on to finish with a game-high 26 points - just three days after her career-high 33 points against Augustana in Sioux Falls this past Saturday.

"Our tempo was better in the fourth quarter," Budgets said on KFEQ Radio after. "Playing smart, executing offense and just taking opportunities that were given to us and making plays."

Truman State (1-2) was in the game through the final media break, as the Bulldogs only trailed 64-62 with 4:35 to go.

The Griffons, however, reeled off an electric 7-0 run at that point, sparked by an Alyssa Bonilla three-pointer, to go up 71-62 with 3:29 left.

"You get a couple of those threes to go when you're under four minutes, it's a dagger and it's hard to come back from it," Missouri Western coach Candi Whitaker said. "We did a good job on the defensive end, making it hard and rebounding it and trying not to foul there down the stretch."

Budgets and junior Mary Fultz followed with clutch threes of their own over the next minute-and-a-half, putting Western up 77-67 with just over two minutes left.

The Griffons hit five of their 11 made threes in the fourth quarter, and outscored the Bulldogs in the fourth 27-17.

"Really proud of how we finished the game," Whitaker said. "I mean, the group we had on the floor in the fourth quarter really made a difference. On both ends of the floor I just thought they were really solid. Shared the ball, had great possessions offensively, took what was there and making open shots is important."

Missouri Western was a perfect 8-for-8 at the free throw line, had 20 assists to just seven turnovers, nabbed 11 steals, scored 34 bench points and outrebounded Truman State 38-33.

Fultz scored a season-high 14 points and had a career-high eight assists off the bench. Junior Connie Clarke had 12 points and a team-best nine rebounds. Fellow junior Johnni Gonzalez had six points and eight boards.

Senior and first-team all-GLVC guard Hannah Belanger scored 25 points to lead Truman State on a remarkable 7-of-9 shooting effort from three. The Bulldogs led by as many as seven in the first half, and held the lead for over 18 minutes of game time.

Missouri Western goes back on the road Monday to face another GLVC team in William Jewell. Tip-off from the Mabee Center in Liberty, MO is set for 6 p.m. Coverage starts at 5:30 on KFEQ Radio (680, 95.3).

You can follow Tommy on Twitter @TommyKFEQ and St. Joseph Post @StJosephPost.