The Buena Vista women's basketball team gave second-ranked Wartburg College all it could handle on Wednesday night, but the Knights were able to pull away just enough for a 66-55 victory inside of Siebens Fieldhouse.
Jasmine Demers made 11-of-18 shot attempts from the field while matching a career-high with four three-point shots and finished with a game-high 29 points and 10 rebounds. Holly Schneider chipped in with 10 points, Claudia Larsen grabbed eight rebounds and Morgan Muhlbauer and Hannah Appleseth each dished out four assists.
BVU, which dropped the first meeting earlier this month by 36 points, slowed the tempo down and used up a great deal of the shot clock each time down the court. The game plan was working in the Beavers advantage, as Wartburg went just 2-of-10 in the opening quarter and trailed 11-9. The Knights made sixh shots in the second and held BVU to just nine points and take a 24-19 lead into the half.
The Beavers then went back to their usual tempo and style of play in the second half while playing singy defense. Schneider hit consecutive three-point shots to spark an 11-3 run and give BVU a 30-27 lead just minutes into the half. The Knights came back with a run of their own to go in front 38-32 but Demers kept BVU within reach with a three of her own to make it 38-35 with under four minutes to go in the third.
Wartburg pushed the margin back up to eight and maintained that margin throughout the final three minutes and took a 48-42 lead to the final period.
Demers hit a three-pointer to start the fourth quarter and make it a three-point game. That ended up being as close as the team could get as Wartburg began to slowly take control. The lead eventually hit double-digits for the first time at 60-50 with 4:14 left. Demers hit another three to keep BVU close, and it was still a nine-point contest with under three minutes to go, but BVU was hit with a technical foul for not getting a player to the score table before the final horn sounded following McKenna Whitehill fouling out of the game. The Knights made 3-of-4 free-throws as a result and built a 12-point cushion to all but secure the win.
Wartburg (20-0, 11-0 IIAC) made just one more field goal than the Beavers (22-21) but held the edge at the free-throw line by going 16-of-25 compared to just 5-of-8 for BVU. The 11-point margin was the second-closest anyone has come to knocking off the Knights during IIAC play this season.
The Beavers were 8-of-19 from long range and shot nearly 40 percent from the field overall.
Buena Vista falls back to 10-11 on the year (5-7 IIAC) and looks to keep pace in the race for a conference tournament spot as it hosts Nebraska Wesleyan on Saturday evening at 4:00 p.m. The Prairie Wolves are currently just one game behind the Beavers and Loras for the sixth and final spot into the tournament. BVU won the first meeting this season, 84-72, on January 3.
It will also be Alumni Day for the Beavers with the Alumni vs. BVU JV game tipping-off at 11:00 a.m.