CANTON, Mo. -- Whatever the Culver-Stockton College women's basketball team talked about at halftime of its home Heart of America Conference meeting with William Penn University, it worked wonders.
The Wildcats entered halftime trailing the Statesmen 34-28 but exploded out of halftime and doubled their score in the third quarter to take a 56-47 advantage into the fourth. C-SC was able to hold off a William Penn comeback in the fourth quarter and pick up a 79-72 victory.
Courteney Sailor and Payton Curley each scored on layups to start the third quarter and cut the deficit to two points, but Makenzie Pezley hit a three to put the Statesmen back up by five with eight minutes, 20 seconds remaining in the quarter. The two teams traded baskets for the next three minutes until Sailor hit a layup with 5:57 remaining in the third to give the Wildcats (9-7, 5-5 HOAC) a 40-39 lead, their first lead since midway through the second quarter.
Again, C-SC and William Penn jostled for advantage, but Ashley Nelson hit a three with 3:38 left in the quarter to put the Wildcats ahead 45-44, a lead they wouldn't surrender again. C-SC closed the quarter on a 14-3 run.
The Wildcats scored 15 points off turnovers in the third quarter and had six fast-break points, while the Statesmen had none in either category.
Sailor led C-SC with 19 points, including 17 in the second half. She also led the team with four steals and pulled down five rebounds. Payton Curley and Ryan Dooley each scored 14 while Jada Summers had eight points and seven rebounds in 15 minutes of play. Prior to Wednesday's game the Statesmen defense averaged just 57 points per game allowed, the second-best defense in the Heart of America Conference.
Brittany West had 18 points for William Penn with a 5-of-13 mark from behind the 3-point line and Pezley had 17 points and was 5 of 6 behind the arc. The Statesmen hit 14 of 35 threes.