Kirkwood surges for CHT championship; #8 Kirkwood 52, #5 ICC 44

Turnovers finally caught up with the ICC women’s basketball team on Saturday, allowing Kirkwood to win the 37th annual Cougar Holiday Tournament by a score of 52-44 at Ramsey Gym. ICC gave the ball away 25 times (most of the time unforced) on the evening, including 8 hiccups in the 4th quarter, which allowed the Eagles to close the game on a 13-3 run the last seven minutes of the game and claim the tourney title.

Sia Williams opened the scoring for the Cougars (assist Abby Coates), followed by a Madison Faulkner basket (Williams assist), and an Isreal Evans layup to put ICC up 6-0. The Eagles tied the score at 8-all, but two free throws by Kellyn Maynard and a steal and layup by Krystal Walker gave the Cougars a 12-8 advantage at the end of the first quarter. Interestingly, Kirkwood shot only 1-15 from the field for the period but ICC turned the ball over eight times and allowed Kirkwood nine offensive rebounds (of which ICC fouled often an put Kirkwood to the free throw line), allowing them to keep the score close.

The second quarter was filled with see-saw action, as neither team could really find an offensive flow. An Aubrey Magro steal led to a Walker layup to put ICC up 17-13, and Emma Henderson and Bailey Larsen nailed three-pointers in the final minute (assists Kathy Pinnock-Branford) to give ICC a 25-21 edge at halftime. The numbers showed ICC should have had a bigger lead as the Eagles shot just 4-23 from the field (17%) in the half, but KC kept the game close by cashing in the 13 Cougar turnovers into 13 points.

Kirkwood nailed a three-pointer to open the third period, but Madison Faulkner answered with an offensive put back and another hoop inside. The Eagles hit another trey, but Maynard hit two freebies, Pinnock-Branford scored inside (assist Emma Henderson), and Levy hit two free throws to put ICC back ahead at 37-33 at the end of the third quarter. The Cougars managed a paltry 4-15 effort from the field and coughed the ball up 4 times in the quarter, allowing Kirkwood to stay close as they converted them into five points.

ICC turned the ball over four times in the first three minutes, but was amazingly still up 38-36 with 7:11 remaining. A defensive breakdown by the Cougars allowed an open trey in the corner from Kirkwood, allowing them to seize the momentum heading to the finish line. The game was still up for grabs but ICC looked like a deer in headlights and Kirkwood closed the game on a 13-3 run to grab the victory. ICC was unable to buckle down when it mattered most, with the stats showing that they turned the ball over 8 times in the final ten minutes (allowing 7 KC points) and shot only 2-12 in the period. ICC shot a dismal 6-27 in the second half for only 22%, and certainly not good enough to win a championship game.  

Team stats

Bench scoring:  ICC 31, KC 15
Rebounding:  ICC 36, KC 31 (leading post rebounder was Levy w/ 8, leading guard rebounder was Maynard w/ 6)
Free throws:  10-15 for 67%

Individual stats

Levy (11 pts, 8 reb), Faulkner (8 pts), Maynard (6 pts, 4 reb), Walker (6 pts), Larsen (4 pts), Henderson (3 pts), Pinnock-Branford (4 asts, 2 pts), Williams (2 pts), Evans (2 pts), Coates (6 reb)