Grenadiers lose homecoming game after hot start

Elijah Lossner, Sports Editor

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The Grenadiers failed to rise to the occasion on Saturday afternoon as they were beaten handily on homecoming by the Asbury Eagles 67-51.

It was the IU Southeast women’s fourth straight conference loss. They now sit tied for second in the south division with three other teams.

The Grenadiers were without their head coach Robin Farris for a second straight game. Farris received two technical fouls in the previous game and was forced to sit out Saturday’s game according NAIA rules. Third year assistant coach Brian Sullivan, filled in for Farris.

Asbury came in to the game ranked first in the KIAC south division at 8-4 with an overall record of 21-6. The Eagles defeated the Grenadiers in their first match-up 70-63.

It appeared early on that the Grenadiers were up to the task, as they jumped out to a 10-0 lead. Asbury countered, by subbing in five new players and going on a 10-2 run, forcing themselves right back in the game.

The Eagles took their first lead 18-17 with seven minutes left in the first half and didn’t look back.

The Grenadiers managed to stay somewhat close for much of the rest of the first half, thanks to senior point guard Heather Wheat. Wheat led all scorers with 23 points on 7-12 shooting.

Asbury closed the half on an 18-6 run, putting them up 36-23.

The Eagles quickness and the quality of their bench were just too much for the Grenadiers. Frustration began to set in early in the second half, as senior guard Megan Cureton, was taken out of the game. Cureton sat out the rest of the second half. She was just 2-10 from the field at the time of her departure.

“She was struggling with some of the quicker players and getting beat off the dribble,” Sullivan said. “I didn’t want her to keep getting more and more frustrated by being out there.”

Asbury kept up their intensity as well as their double-digit lead the entire second half.

The Eagles defensive forced 19 Grenadier turnovers which they converted in to 21 points and Asbury’s bench outscored IU Southeast 33-8.

After four straight conference losses, the Grenadiers have lost the chance at playing a first round KIAC tournament game at home and a larger question looms as to how far they can go in a conference that features three 20 win teams? According to Sullivan the conference has gotten a lot better in the past two seasons.

“This is probably the best the conference has been in probably 10 to 15 years,” Sullivan said. “We added teams like IU East (University) and Point Park (University) that are a lot more competitive than some of the teams we’ve lost.”

When asked about the state of the team heading down the stretch, Wheat suggested that chemistry among players is “fine,” and offered a different word for how to turn the team in a positive direction, “effort.”

“We just need to know that every single person has got to work their hardest at all times,” Wheat said. “And sometimes I feel we don’t have that. If everyone is giving 100 percent at all times, and we take and L (loss), I can live with that.”

The Grenadiers wipe the slate clean and tip off tomorrow night at 6 p.m. in another big conference game. They square off against the Cincinnati Christian Eagles in the Activities Building. The two teams are tied for second in the KIAC south.