Hot Shooting + Defense/Rebounding = Semi-Final Win over Parkland 69-56

Solid defense and rebounding have been the winning recipe recently for the ICC women’s basketball team.  On Saturday afternoon, they added a third ingredient to the mix called ‘hot three-point shooting’ that helped them pull off a 69-56 defeat of Parkland College in the semi-finals of the Region 24 tournament in Springfield.  Sia Williams, Bailey Larsen, and Kellyn Maynard combined to hit six three-pointers in the first half (and a total of 7 for the game) while Jasmine Levy’s double-double (17 points, 12 rebounds) and Abby Coates’ near double-double (10 rebounds, 8 points) kept things stabilized in the paint.  The solid defense stayed true (holding PC to 30% shooting) and rebounding (52-29 advantage) took care of matters overall to get the win.  

It was actually Parkland who came out firing to start the game, hitting two three-pointers on their first two possessions to go up 6-2.  Abby Coates countered with two baskets and Williams hit her first three-pointer (assist Larsen) to give ICC a 9-8 lead, but the Cobras answered with another three-ball in the midst of their 7-0 run to go up 15-9.  Krystal Walker took a charge on defense, and Williams hit another three-pointer that started a 10-1 run as Jasmine Levy hit on five free throws and Larsen hit a jumper giving ICC a 19-16 advantage after one period. 

Maynard hit her three-pointer at the beginning of the second, and the Blue and Gold opened up a 28-22 lead on a Madison Faulkner put-back midway through the quarter.  Larsen then went wild from distance, hitting back-to-back-to-back three-pointers in a span of 1:06 to launch ICC to a 37-25 lead that sent the Cougar bench and faithful fans into a tizzy.  Levy got an offensive rebound on the Cougars’ last possession of the half and ICC went up 39-31 at intermission.

Abby Coates started the half with a field goal (assist Levy) and a blocked shot, and after two Cougar offensive rebounds, Levy scored on a put-back to give ICC a 43-31 cushion.  Levy continued to control the boards as she scored on two more put-backs and Coates got a layup (assist Pinnock-Branford) that allowed ICC to put up a double-digit advantage at 49-35.  Kennedy Banks scored inside (assist Williams) and then Williams nailed another three-ball (assist Henderson) and the Cougars settled for a 55-45 lead heading into the fourth. 

Parkland scored on their first possession of the quarter to trim their deficit to 55-47, but that was as close as they would get as Levy scored two more baskets (assists Larsen and Maynard) and the Cougars’ depth began to wear the Cobras down.  Pinnock-Branford, Maynard, and Walker all got runouts (assists Levy, Pinnock-Branford, Coates) to run the lead to 67-55 and Williams nailed two free throws for the final margin.  ICC limited Parkland to just 2-15 field goal shooting in the final period, and ironically enough, while PC went 3-3 from three-point range to start the game, they managed to only go 1-16 the rest of the way, while ICC hit on 7-13 from long-range.  The Cougars also held a 52-29 rebounding edge, thanks to 12 boards by Levy, 10 by Coates, and 9 by Maynard.

Game goals met:

Individual stats:

Levy (17 pts, 12 reb, 2 blks), Williams (12 pts), Larsen (11 pts, 6 reb, 3 asts), Coates (10 reb, 8 pts), Maynard (9 reb, 7 asts), Pinnock-Branford (6 pts, 4 asts), Faulkner (5 reb, 4pts), Henderson (4 asts), Walker (2 pts), Banks (2 pts)