Blackburn Winter Sports Round-up

Women’s Basketball
The Blackburn College women’s basketball team split a pair of St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contests last week.  Last Thursday, the Beavers defeated MacMurray College 69-65. The win was a complete team effort as eight of the nine women scored at least a point, with four of them recording double-digit figures.

Sophomore Briana Rae led the way for the Beavers by throwing in 19 points and grabbing 12 boards. This marks Rae’s third double-double of the season. She also picked up three steals on the evening. Junior Shelby Smith again had a solid performance with 16 points. Right behind her was Rashonda Willis with 11 and Danique Smith with 10. Willis and Danae Smith tied Rae for the team lead with three steals.  Kylie Sparks handed out five assists in the victory.

The Beavers got off to a quick start by overwhelming the Highlanders by a score of 22-6. The 15-point lead would be the highest of the game as MacMurray kept inching back to tie it up at 58 with five minutes to play. That’s as close as MacMurray would get though, as they never had a lead throughout the entire game. Some clutch late-game free throws from Rashonda Willis helped seal the victory.

Blackburn shot an above average 68 percent from the line by going 21 of 31. They also shot 44 percent from the field while MacMurray topped out at 32 percent from the field. MacMurray’s Whittney Wade led all point scorers by collecting 20. Kelsey Anderson also added 17 for the Highlanders who drop to 4-7 on the year and 2-3 in SLIAC play.

On Saturday, the Beavers lost to the visiting Spalding University Golden Eagles 81-59. Spalding jumped out to a 10-0 outburst right after tip-off. By the middle of the first half, the Beavers were still down 27-10. Spalding would add another point to the lead by halftime as they entered the locker room up 44-26.

Blackburn just couldn’t stop the hot hand of Spalding’s Kerstin Hayes. Hayes was on fire throughout the course of the game by knocking down five three-pointers en route to a 30 point afternoon. Hayes also collected seven assists on the afternoon.

The leading scorer for Blackburn was Shelby Smith, who had 14 points. This marks the fourth straight game of double digit points for the junior, as she has averaged about 21 points per game in those contests. Smith now averages 11.2 points per game on the season. Sophomore Briana Rae added 12 points for the Beavers. This is Rae’s third game in the last four when she has earned double digits in scoring. Rae is averaging 9.3 points per game this year. Although the Beavers were out-rebounded 48 to 36, Danique Smith still managed to grab 8 boards, which led the team.

Blackburn falls to 2-12 overall and 2-4 in the SLIAC. They will continue conference play as they head across the river to play Fontbonne University on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 6 p.m.

Men’s Basketball
The Blackburn College men’s basketball team dropped a pair of contests last week.  The Beavers were strong against MacMurray College last Thursday night, but the Highlanders took over late in the second half on the way to a 63-48 victory in St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play in Carlinville.

The Beavers led 19-17 with 6:04 to play in the first half before the Highlanders closed out the first half with a 19-2 run to take a 36-21 halftime lead. MacMurray stretched the lead to 21 points in the second half before the Beavers closed the gap to 14 on back to back 3-pointers by Lucas Rochkes and Ira Williams to make the score 57-43 with 7:24 remaining. The Beavers were not able to get closer than 13 the rest of the way in falling to 1-13 on the year and 1-4 in SLIAC play.  MacMurray is now 7-6 and 4-1. Williams led the Beavers with 10 points while Diarra Cropper led in rebounding with six.

Blackburn shot 39 percent on 18 of 47 shooting but committed 19 turnovers which led to 26 points of turnovers for MacMurray.

Last Saturday afternoon, conference leading Spalding University came to town and the Golden Eagles ran away to a 98-53 victory. The Golden Eagles raced out to a 14-0 advantage and never looked back.

Ira Williams paced Blackburn with nine points. Blackburn was out-rebounded 41-28 and the Beavers committed 21 turnovers.  Spalding had five players in double figures led by Cody Curtsinger with 19 points.

The Beavers are now 1-14 on the season and 1-5 in the SLIAC, Spalding is 8-6 and 5-0 in conference play.