After leading by four at halftime, the Peru State women's basketball team could not sustain their lead in a loss to Evangel (Mo.) on Saturday.

The Crusaders outscored the Bobcats by ten in the second 20 minutes in route to an 87-81 win in the Al Wheeler Activity Center Saturday in front of an alumni crowd.

With the win, Evangel improved to 13-10 overall and 11-7 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart). Peru State fell to 8-14 and 6-12 in conference action.
 
First Quarter Action
 
The Bobcats scored first in the quarter on a trey by Alyssa Marsh-Contreras (Omaha) with 8:50 on the clock. Peru State would maintain the lead the entire quarter.
 
Peru State's largest lead of the period came after Reagan Kirkwood (Valley Falls, Kan.) hit a bucket in the paint off an assist from Claire Cudney (Marysville, Kan.). That put the score at 12-4 at the 6:19 mark.
 
Evangel would cut the deficit to two by the end of the stanza which saw the 'Cats still leading 16-14.
 
Second Quarter Action
 
The Crusaders would tie the game with a bucket to start the second ten minutes. Maddy McPhillips (Omaha) would break the tie with a trey off an assist from Marsh-Contreras with 9:34 on the clock.
 
The game would later be tied at 22 and 24 before the Bobcats would go on a 6-0 run which started with a Kirkwood bucket off an assist from McPhillips. Giovanna Silva (Brazilia, Brazil) followed with a bucket, but missed completing an old-fashioned three-point play. With 4:24 on the clock, Cudney hit a pair of free throws to put the score at 30-24.
 
Later, with 1:42 left in the second quarter, Cudney hit a bucket in the paint on an assist from Marsh-Contreras to give the 'Cats their largest lead of the game at 34-26.
 
Evangel would cut the deficit to four by halftime as they trailed 36-32.
 
Third Quarter Action
 
With just 18 seconds off the clock, Evangel scored to pull within two. Silva countered with a bucket on an assist from Marsh-Contreras to make it 38-34 at the 9:29 point.
 
The Crusaders would go on a 14-0 run to take a ten-point lead at 48-38 with 6:11 remaining in the period.  The 'Cats got a pair of free throws by Silva and then a bucket by Silva to cut the deficit to six. Cudney scored on an assist from Kirkwood and suddenly, the Bobcats were back within four at 48-44 at the 4:12 point.
 
Evangel would again go out to a ten-point lead at 55-45 before Peru State would cut the deficit to three at the end of the quarter. A McPhillips bucket off an assist from Cudney with 67 seconds left made the score 59-56.
 
Fourth Quarter Action
 
Evangel scored the first three points of the final stanza before Dayna Dewitt (Mansfield, Texas) completed an old-fashioned three-point play to cut the lead to 62-59. Kirkwood followed with a pair of charity tosses and the Bobcats were back within one at 62-61 with 8:40 left in the game.
 
The Crusaders would lead the rest of the way and increased their lead to eight at 79-71 with 2:09 left. The Bobcats would not quit and were still within three at 82-79 after McPhillips hit a pair of free throws. That would be as close as the 'Cats would come as Evangel went on for the six-point win.
 
Team Statistics
 
The shooting by the teams was pretty even in the contest. Evangel made 32 of 75 field goals for 42.7% which included making just 4 of 23 from behind the arc for 17.4%. At the free throw line, the Crusaders went 19 of 32 of 59.4%.  The Bobcats actually shot better than Evangel in each area. Peru State made 29 of 65 field goal attempts for 44.6% including hitting 4 of 15 from long range for 26.7%. The 'Cats made 19 of 26 free throws for 73.1%.
 
The Bobcat did have a rebounding edge as they grabbed 44 boards compared to 33 for the Crusaders. Both teams dished out 17 assists.
 
The biggest difference in the contest came in turnovers as Evangel forced 25 Bobcat miscues which resulted in 35 points. The Crusaders finished the game with 12 turnovers.
 
Both teams blocked two shots. Evangel grabbed 19 steals while they took care of the ball and only gave up two steals to Peru State.
 
Peru Individual Statistics
 
In most contests, a team would think they could win when they have five players scoring in double figures and with one more just two points away. But, that was not the case Saturday afternoon.
 
McPhillips led the way with 17 points while Silva finished with 14 as did Dewitt who came off the bench for one of her better performances. Cudney added 12 with Marsh-Contreras contributing ten. Kirkwood finished with eight points.
 
Silva had another double-double as she had a game-high 14 rebounds. Cudney and Dewitt each grabbed eight boards.
 
Marsh-Contreras dished out six assists with Cudney handing out five. Silva and Dewitt were each credited with one block. Nytasia Braxton (Camden, N.J.) and Dewitt each had one steal.
 
Upcoming Games
 
Peru State faces tough opponents at home this week. On Wednesday, they take on Grand View (Iowa) at 5:30 p.m. The Vikings, who were receiving votes in the most recent coaches' poll, are 16-8 on the season and 12-6 in the Heart.
 
Wednesday night will be the Peru Association of Student Athletes' (PASA) Staff Appreciation Night. Between games, 15 individuals will be recognized by PASA members as making a difference in their time at Peru State.
 
On Saturday, February 15, the Bobcats host #9 Central Methodist (Mo.) at 2 p.m. The Eagles are on a seven-game winning streak and are 22-2 overall and have a league-leading 16-2 mark.