The visiting team, 14th-ranked in the NAIA DII women's basketball coaches' poll, felt the heat Monday night, despite the chill outside.
 
The MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) (MNU) Pioneers were pushed the entire contest before pulling away for a 76-65 win Monday night over the Peru State Bobcats.
 
With the win, the Pioneers improved to 5-2 on the season and are still perfect in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart) at 4-0. The Bobcats fell to 2-5 on the year and are 1-3 in conference play.
 
First Quarter Action
 
MNU scored the first points of the game off a Bobcat turnover before Giovanna Silva (Brazilia, Brazil) got the 'Cats on the board with a bucket at the 9:10 mark. A trey by the Pioneers was followed by a Claire Cudney (Marysville, Kan.) bucket in the paint off an assist from Silva. Another bucket by Cudney – this time on an assist from Maddy McPhillips (Omaha) gave Peru State its first lead of the game at 6-5 at the 6:54 mark.
 
The Pioneers would regain the lead with a bucket before Dayna Dewitt (Mansfield, Texas) made a pair of free throws. Dewitt would follow with another bucket off an assist from Keaundra Washington (Omaha) to give the 'Cats a three-point lead at 10-7 with 3:28 left in the quarter.
 
Peru State would maintain the lead and actually extended it to four with 1:21 on the clock when Allison Tichy (Bellevue) hit a trey on an assist from Alyssa Marsh-Contreras (Bellevue). After the score was 17-13, the Pioneers finished the quarter with five points to lead 18-17 at the end of ten minutes.
 
Second Quarter Action
 
After the Pioneers started the quarter with a pair of free throws, McPhillips hit a trey off an assist from Marsh-Contreras to knot the game at 20-20 with 8:53 left in the first half.
 
When MNU hit a three-pointer to regain the lead, it was a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the contest.
 
With 4:30 left in the second quarter, Peru State was back within one at 29-28 after Marsh-Contreras made a pair of free throws.
 
The Bobcats did keep the lead within single digits as the Pioneers had a 41-34 advantage at halftime.
 
Third Quarter Action
 
Marsh-Contreras scored the first points before the Pioneers went on a 6-0 run to have their first double-digit lead of the game at 47-36 at the 6:40 mark.
 
Late in the quarter, back-to-back buckets by Cudney would pull the 'Cats within seven at 52-45 before MNU would lead 56-47 at the end of the stanza.
 
Fourth Quarter Action
 
Dewitt started the fourth period with a bucket only to see MNU score nine-straight points giving the Pioneers a comfortable lead for the remainder of the contest.
 
With 5:25 to go, a hoop by Reagan Kirkwood pulled the 'Cats within 11 which is as close as they would come until the final buzzer.

 
Team Statistics
 
Both teams shot the ball decently from the floor. MNU made 25 of 54 field goals for 46.3%, but were aided by making 8 of 19 from long range for 42.1%. The Pioneers were hot from the free throw line hitting 18 of 21 for 85.7%. Peru State connected on 24 of 57 field tries for 42.1%, but struggled from long range making 5 of 19 for 26.3%. The Bobcats also struggled at the charity stripe making just 12 of 21 for 57.1%.
 
The much taller Pioneers only had a four-board edge in rebounds as they grabbed 33 compared to 29 for the 'Cats. MNU had 11 assists compared to ten for the Bobcats.
 
The turnovers were pretty even with Peru State having one more than MNU as they finished with 16. The Bobcats blocked two shots – one more than the Pioneers. MidAmerica Nazarene grabbed eight steals while the 'Cats nabbed six.

Peru Individual Statistics
 
Peru State had three players in double figures and were led by Cudney's 17 points on seven of eight shooting from the floor. Marsh-Contreras added 11 and Dewitt contributed ten.
 
Cudney also led the Bobcat rebounding efforts as she grabbed seven with Silva adding five.
 
Marsh-Contreras dished out four assists with Washington handing out two.
 
Dewitt and Daspin Bruning (Everest, Kan.) were each credited with one block.
 
Cudney led the team with two steals while four others each were credited with one steal.
 
Upcoming Contests
 
The Bobcats will be on the road Thursday night when they travel to Baldwin City, Kan., to face Baker at 5:30 p.m. The Wildcats are 4-4 on the season and are 1-4 in Heart play having lost their last four games.
 
On Saturday, Peru State will host #19 Clarke (Iowa) in a game beginning at noon. The Pride are 7-2 on the year and are 3-2 in the Heart having lost Monday night to #25 William Penn (Iowa).
 
For Saturday's game, it will be the toy drive game for Peru State. Those bringing a new toy will be allowed in free. In addition, the Fantastic Flyers will perform at halftime of each contest. Between games, the athletic department will recognize its two senior cross country runners.