'Cats remain perfect at home with win over University of St. Mary

'Cats remain perfect at home with win over University of St. Mary

The Wildcats continued their run with an impressive 70-67 win over the University of Saint Mary on Friday night. The 'Cats and Spires met two weeks ago with JWU taking the 65-54 win in Leavenworth. Starting the contest, USM got on the board first with a bucket by Tracie Weege, but Kourtney Shirley evened the game with her own bucket just seconds later.

The offense of both teams kept the two sides within one or two baskets of each other with JWU taking a 32-31 lead into the break. The Wildcats shot just .393 from the floor but the Spires were only .286 in the half. University of Saint Mary went 0 for 10 from beyond the arc but were 11 for 11 from the free throw line with JWU sinking 3 of 10 from three point land and hitting 7 of 13 from the charity stripe.

The second half got underway with the University of Saint Mary taking some fire from the intermission to take the lead and extend the game to 55-45 advantage in their favor. Caitlin Durkin found herself in foul trouble and fouled out with just over 11 minutes to play. That was the momentum changer the Wildcats needed as Kourtney Shirley and Jasmine Culbreath push the Wildcats to cut the lead entirely and tie the game at 55. Amber Salaz came up strong down the stretch with seven second half points.

The Spires started to mount a comeback in the closing minutes but the Wildcats wouldn't allow it with strong defense and slowing down the game action to eat up some of the clock. A last second heave by USM fell short to give Johnson & Wales the victory.

Shirley finished the night with 23 points and Culbreath had 15 points and a game high 12 rebounds. Shirley also dished out four assists and Victoria Huber had five steals for JWU. Jasmine Johnson had 22 points for the Spires and Korbynn Stallbaumer added 8 boards.

Johnson & Wales (7-1) will play Dickinson State University at 1:00 PM on Saturday in the Wildcat Center in their first Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) matchup of the season.