TAHLEQUAH, Okla. -- The Lady Blues fell behind quickly and never regrouped in a 52-43 loss Saturday to Northeastern State in Jack Dobbins Fieldhouse.
Ninth-ranked Washburn fell to 11-3 overall and 5-1 in the MIAA and will continue a three-game road trip Thursday at Lincoln at 5:30 p.m. The RiverHawks improved to 11-5 and 6-2 in the MIAA. With Central Missouri losing, Washburn remains alone at first in the MIAA as the only one-loss team.
Each team had significant scoring draughts in the second half and shot at or below 30 percent the final 20 minutes.
The RiverHawks scored the first six points after halftime to match their 15-point lead they had in the first half. That was the largest deficit Washburn faced all year. The Lady Blues responded with a 10-2 run to get within seven at the 14:14 mark. Northeastern State then hit a 3-pointer at the 13:03 mark to go back up by 10. Washburn held NSU scoreless for just over seven minutes after that but was only able to chip six points off the lead. Stormye Everett's two free throws at 7:46 made it 43-39, NSU and the RiverHawks responded with a 3-pointer by Chelsey Stricklen with 5:45 to play.
Washburn scored just four more points after that, the last on a bucket by Laura Kinderknecht at 4:48 that got the Lady Blues within three points, the closest they had been since the 18:07 mark of the first half. Washburn finished the game 0 for 5 with three turnovers and NSU's four free throws in the final 25 seconds pushed the game out of reach.
No one scored in double figures for the Lady Blues as they had their lowest scoring game of the year. Their 31 percent field goal percentage was also the lowest of the year. Kinderknecht, Everett and Tiara George each scored eight for Washburn. George had nine rebounds and Everett had seven to lead the team. Dana Elliott led with four assists and Everett had a career high six steals.
The Lady Blues shot just 9 of 27 (33 percent) in the first half and found themselves down by 15, 30-15 at the 4:03 mark. They ended the half on an 8-2 run after that to trail by nine, 32-23 at halftime.
The Riverhawks shot 54 percent in the half and jumped to leads of 11-3 and 16-5. Kinderknecht's second 3-pointer of the half cut it to 16-10 but a 7-0 NSU run later made it 30-15. Taylor Lewis had 12 of her points in the first half.
Washburn ended up shooting 31 percent from the field and was able to trim NSU's final shooting percentage to 44. The RiverHawks ended 8 of 18 (44 percent) from 3-point range and shot just five free throws with four makes. Washburn was 2 of 17 from long range and 5 of 10 from the free throw line.
Lewis ended with 22 points for NSU as she was 8 of 18 from the field with four 3-pointers.
Washburn won the rebound battle, 40-30 and had 14 turnovers to NSU's 16. The RiverHawks blocked seven shots while Washburn had two.