17 boards, 4 blocks for Central's Brown in league women's loss

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Forward Kendall Brown (junior, Moravia) pulled down a career-high 17 rebounds as the Central College women's basketball team dominated the glass but were plagued by turnovers in a 61-48 loss to Simpson College Wednesday.
The Dutch (6-10 overall, 2-5 American Rivers) held Simpson 20 points under its league-leading 81.8-point average and held a 55-48 rebounding advantage. But Simpson (13-3 overall, 5-2 conference) took an 18-10 first-quarter lead and held the upper hand throughout, using a full-court press helped force 28 Central turnovers. The Dutch limited Simpson to 32.9-percent shooting but hit only 32.3 percent, including a chilly 14.8 percent (4-27) from 3-point range.
"Turnovers and missed shots cost us," coach Joe Steinkamp said. "I thought there was a time we were tentative in the first half and that's when they went on their run. But when you play against a zone team, you have to shoot better than 4-for-27 from 3. It wasn't like they were contested 3's. A lot of them were wide open."
Yet Steinkamp found much to be encouraged about.
Brown continued to be an inside force with four blocks. She's the league's blocked shots leader with 2.8 per game and ranks second in rebounding at 8.3.
"She did a great job of protecting the rim and she was all over the boards," Steinkamp said.
Freshman guard Bri Smith (Solon) had a career-high 15 points but was the only Central player to crack double figures. Forward Payton Rogers (sophomore, Moravia) had eight points and five boards.
"Bri had her best game of the season," Steinkamp said. "She's been shooting a lot better in practice. She knocked down her first college 3-pointer and that seemed to get her going, then she hit another 3 later. If she continues to do that, I think that will open up her drives."
Forward Sami Craig (sophomore, Altoona, Southeast Polk HS) had seven rebounds and four steals to go with seven points, which matched a career-best. Craig also drew the assignment of guarding Simpson's Jenna Taylor, the league's second-leading scorer with 18.3 points a game, holding her to nine.
"I really thought Sami Craig did a good job against Jenna Taylor," Steinkamp said. "And she was still able to be a force on the boards and also had her best offensive game. We ask a lot of her but she's really stepped up to the challenge."
The Dutch travel to Dubuque to meet Loras College Saturday in a league women's-men's twinbill. The start time was moved up to noon due to anticipated difficult winter travel conditions. Loras is 13-3 overall and 6-1 in league play, tied for first place after a big 75-66 road win at Luther College Wednesday night. The Duhawks swept a pair of games from Central last year.
"They play similar to how Wartburg plays," Steinkamp said. "They have big athletes at every position. We'll have to be ready."

Steinkamp is hopeful the shots will eventually begin to fall for his young club.

"I feel like we're going to break out this offensive slump," he said. "We're showing glimpses of it at times. We just need to play a full game where we're making shots."

Saturday's games will be broadcast on KRLS-FM (92.1) with Cory Houser and can be accessed via www.kniakrls.com.