FORT SMITH, Ark. --McKendree University women's basketball coach Melissa Ringhausen on Saturday earned her 300th career win at the school as the Bearcats defeated Huston-Tillotson 66-55 in the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith Thanksgiving Classic.
The Bearcats improved to 3-2 overall and will play host to Lindenwood University at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Ringhausen is in her 16th season at McKendree and has a career record of 300-198. She is the winningest coach in the history of the women's program.
McKendree had four players score in double figures for the second consecutive game and was led by sophomore guard Caty Ponce's 22 points. Ponce, of Edwardsville, also eclipsed the 500-point mark in her collegiate career in the win.
Senior forward Shelby Woelfel, of Jerseyville, recorded her second-straight double-double with 12 points and a team-high 14 rebounds, while junior guard Brittany Willis and freshman guard Liz Gilman each had 10 points.
Senior guard/forward Leann Voss, of Breese, pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds and a had team-high three steals.
The Bearcats jumped out to a quick 9-4 lead, but the Rams outscored McKendree 18-3 over the next five minutes to take a 22-12 lead with 12:07 left in the first half.
A 3-pointer and a jumper by Ponce on back-to-back possessions brought the Bearcats within 22-17. They tied the game at 28 on a free throw by freshman guard Ashley Klass with 1:47 left in the half. Huston-Tillotson held on though, and led 30-29 at the half.
The Rams held McKendree to only one field goal in the opening 3:30 of the second half and jumped out to a 36-31 lead.
A transition layup by Willis followed by another 3-pointer by Ponce put the Bearcats in front 42-39 with 12:57 left and the lead would be all McKendree needed down the stretch.
The Bearcats pushed their lead to as many as 62-46 with just under three minutes to play and held on to win.
McKendree shot 91.3-percent (21-23) from the free-throw line in the contest, its highest total since shooting 80.8-percent (21-for-26) on Feb. 24, 2012 against University of Sioux Falls.
Danielle Franklin led Huston-Tillotson University with 16 points.