Cougars Knock Off #1 Kirkwood: #18 ICC 59, #1 Kirkwood 58

A combination of heart, hustle, and teamwork was the magic formula for the #18 ICC women’s basketball team as they upended #1 ranked Kirkwood Community College 59-58 in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, November 11 at the Kirkwood Classic. The ICC-Kirkwood rivalry dates back to the mid-90’s when Coach Lorene Ramsey was on the sidelines for the Cougars, and this game did not disappoint as it went down to the wire.

Kirkwood came out the aggressor at the start of the game, taking a 16-8 first quarter lead.  In the second period, ICC settled in on two Madison Faulkner baskets (assists Bailey Larsen), an Emma Henderson three-pointer (assist Kellyn Maynard) and a charge taken by Kathy Pinnock-Branford. Sia Williams nailed a three-pointer with the shot clock winding down to put the Cougars up 24-23 and give them some spunk, but that lead was short-lived as the Eagles went on a 12-0 run to close the half and take a 35-24 lead into halftime.

The Cougars regrouped and came out in attack mode, going on an 8-1 run on three Abby Coates baskets (assists Branford and Faulkner) and a Krystal Walker hoop (assist Coates) to dent the deficit to 36-32. Williams, sophomore Isreal Evans (Peoria HS), and Faulkner combined for scores to end the third, but the Cougars still trailed 46-42 heading into the final stanza.

Maynard converted on an offensive putback to make it 46-44, and Henderson splashed in a trey off a set play (assist Larsen) to give ICC a 47-46 advantage with 8:00 remaining. While the Cougars stuck together defensively, Williams went wild on the offensive end, nailing two treys and adding another basket to will ICC to a 59-54 lead with 2:12 to play. Kirkwood scored twice to draw to within 59-58, but the ICC defense stayed tough, holding the Eagles scoreless on their last two possessions, including a shot in the paint that missed as the clock expired.

Final stats:

Williams (16pts, 2ast),  Faulkner (12 pts, 4reb), Coates (10pts, 4reb), Walker (7pts, 3st), Henderson (6pts), Evans (5pts), Maynard (6reb, 2ast, 2pts), Larsen (4ast, 3 st, 1 pt).

Other: Special thanks to assistant coach Dennie Hieronymus on this Veteran’s Day both for his service in the US Navy and for sharing his experiences with our team before the game.