It’s been a struggle for the Southwestern College women’s basketball team at the onset of the 2021-22 season. However, the defense stepped up in a huge way to create offensive opportunities Monday night against visiting Manhattan Christian in Stewart Field House.

The Lady Builders forced 32 turnovers en route to a 95-53 victory.

Southwestern shot less than 40 percent from the floor through the first two quarters, but a 20-10 first-quarter margin allowed the Lady Builders (1-3) to surge to a 39-28 halftime lead by forcing 19 first-half turnovers.

The second half was a different story.

The Lady Builders came alive offensively, shooting 51 percent (23 of 45) from the floor to pull away.

Southwestern’s defense continued solid play, holding the Lady Thunder (0-3) without a field goal in the third quarter. The Lady Builders outscored Manhattan Christian 29-6 in the stanza and held the Lady Thunder to just six second-half field goals.

Sophomore Amanda Graddy went 7 of 13 from 3-point range in a 27-point effort for the Lady Builders, who outscored Manhattan Christian 56-25 in the second half.

Sophomore Kewaysha Alsup had a solid all-around effort with nine points, seven assists, six rebounds and five steals. Junior Atyanna Freeman finished with 13 points and five steals.

Sidney Dennis and Shaylynn Choate each had seven rebounds, with nine of their 14 boards on the offensive glass. Southwestern outrebounded the Lady Thunder 48-29, leading to 25 second-chance points.

Kayleigh Mannering went 11 of 11 from the foul line and led all scorers with 28 points for the Lady Thunder, who only used six players.

The Lady Builders take part Friday and Saturday in the Lonnie Kruse Classic at Sterling. Southwestern opens tourney play at 4 p.m. Friday against Evangel (1-3) and takes on College of the Ozarks (2-2) at noon Saturday.

Statistics compiled by CT sports editor Joey Sprinkle.

Southwestern 95, Manhattan Christian 53

Manhattan Chr.    10    18    6    19    —    53

Southwestern    20    19    29    27    —    95

MANHATTAN CHRISTIAN (1-3)

Kayleigh Mannering 7-17 11-11 28, Karrigan Dunstan 3-7 0-0 8, Jordan Lewis 3-6 0-1 8, Tristen Heiden 1-3 1-2 3, Maggie Hayes 0-2 2-2 2, Karlee Wahlemier 2-3 0-1 4. Totals 16-38 14-17 53.

SOUTHWESTERN (1-3)

Amanda Graddy 9-17 2-2 27, Atyanna Freeman 6-13 1-2 13, Kewaysha Alsup 3-7 3-4 9, Katie Klimkowski 2-8 0-0 5, Sidney Dennis 2-5 0-0 4, Denisha Anderson 4-9 0-0 9, Shaylynn Choate 3-8 0-0 8, Jordan Semones 2-7 0-0 6, Paige Urquhart 2-5 0-0 4, Kyra Wynn 2-3 0-0 4, Haleigh Johnson 2-3 0-0 4, Vonee’ Thomas 1-2 0-0 2, Chris Helmann 0-2 0-0 0, Tynica Gilmore 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 38-89 6-8 95.

3-Point goals: Manhattan Christian 7-18 (Mannering 3-9, Lewis 2-2, Dunstan 2-6, Heiden 0-1); Southwestern 13-33 (Graddy 7-13, Choate 2-4, Semones 2-7, Anderson 1-1, Klimkowski 1-3, Freeman 0-1, Alsup 0-1, Urquhart 0-1, Helmann 0-2). Rebounds: Manhattan Christian 29 (Lewis 6, Hayes 6); Southwestern 48 (Dennis 7, Choate 7). Assists: Manhattan Christian 11 (Lewis 5); Southwestern 21 (Alsup 7). Steals: Manhattan Christian 2 (Heiden 1, Wahlemier 1); Southwestern 22 (Freeman 5, Alsup 5). Blocks: Manhattan Christian 1 (Wahlemier); Southwestern 0. Turnovers: Manhattan Christian 32, Southwestern 10. Fouled out: None. Total fouls: Manhattan Christian 8, Southwestern 18.

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