The Cottey College Comets ended the home portion of the first-semester basketball schedule with a low-scoring victory over Southwest Iowa Community College Saturday, 46-36.
The game was a very physical, sometimes sluggish battle with a lot of banging about in the lane. Freshman Kennadi Howard suffered a concussion on a drive to the basket in the second half and didn't return to the game.
Her status on the injury report is day-to-day.
Both teams had trouble finding the basket in the first half. Cottey jumped out to a 6-0 lead and then went cold as ice from the field as the Spartans grabbed a 14-9 lead with 6 minutes left in the half. The Comets' scoreless drought ended at 7 minutes when Howard hit a 3-pointer at the 5:44 mark.
Cottey pulled within a single point at 18-17 on a Bailey Braden basket underneath with 2:30 to play and again with just over a minute left on a Blaklee Sanders bucket. That was the last scoring the Comets could muster in the first half, giving Southwest Iowa a 20-19 lead at the break.
Cottey scored the first bucket in the second half, but it was two Dayna Turnbull free throws that gave the Comets the lead for good at 23-22. Cottey pulled ahead by four points on several occasions, but never could put away the pesky Spartans until late in the game when the visitors began fouling to stop the clock.
Cottey hit the majority of its free throws to build a 10-point lead, which it maintained until the final buzzer.
The Comets never got many second-chance baskets as the Spartans had two 5-foot-11-inch players inside who kept Cottey off of the offensive boards. The Comets only had nine offensive rebounds in the contest, but they were able to grab 31 rebounds defensively, which kept the Spartans from getting second-chance baskets as well.
Braden finished the night with a double-double for the Comets, scoring a team-high 14 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. Sanders just missed a double-double of her own with eight points and 10 rebounds, while Turnbull finished with nine points.
The win kept the Comets' fall schedule perfect at 5-0. Cottey has three road games left before the holidays, starting with tonight's matchup against Ozark Christian College at 6 p.m.