Stoewer Show Leads Cougars Over Lake Land

Summer Stoewer’s 27 points, including ten of the final 13 points, and eight rebounds helped the No. 2 ICC women’s basketball team hang on for a 64-62 win over No. 13 Lake Land on Tuesday night in Mattoon in Region 24 action.

The victory gave the Cougars their 18th win in a row, making their record 18-1 overall, 1-0 in region play. 

ICC zoomed out to 9-1 lead by getting out in transition and attacking the paint. Abby Coates scored two baskets on feeds from Marquitta Easley. Stoewer nailed a 3-pointer, assisted Kathy Pinnock-Branford, and Pinnock-Branford hit a lefty runner to get the Cougars on track. Following a timeout, the Lakers settled in and drew to within 22-17 after the first period. 

The Blue and Gold began the second quarter on a 9-0 run as Easley and Josi Becker had drives to the hoop followed by an old-fashioned 3-point play from Coates, assisted by Pinnock-Branford. Stoewer added a drive to the hoop and a baseline floater followed by a Pinnock-Branford layup as ICC took a 34-21 advantage. Moriah Ward closed the half on a nice up-and-under move inside and the defense held tough, allowing just nine LLC points in the period to make it 38-26 into the half. 

Things looked good to start the third as Stoewer hit Ward for a layup for the Cougars’ largest lead at 40-26. ICC then turned the ball over on six straight possessions but maintained a 44-33 lead as Emma Henderson hit a shot in the paint and then dished to Madison Faulkner for a layup at the 4:42 mark. Things then turned ugly as Lake Land cranked up their defense, holding ICC scoreless the rest of the quarter while going on a 7-0 run of their own to cut their deficit to 44-40.

Pinnock-Branford and Stoewer cashed in layups to start the fourth, putting ICC up 48-40, but the pesky Lakers countered with a 3-point play that ignited an 11-3 run to give the home team a 55-51 lead with 5:37 to play. And that’s when Stoewer decided enough was enough. She drove the right baseline, scoring on a nifty bank shot and then splashed in a 3-pointer, assisted by Easley, to draw ICC back to within two points at 58-56. Easley tied the score at 58-all with a bucket, and Pinnock-Branford took a charge on the defensive end to give ICC a much needed boost.

Stoewer drilled her fifth 3-pointer on the night, with another assist by Easley, to put ICC up 61-60 and the Cougar defense followed that with an important stop. Stoewer was fouled on the ensuing possession and calmly drained two free throws to put ICC up 63-60 with 30 seconds remaining. ICC forced two turnovers on the next possessions and the Lakers fouled, but ICC converted on only 1 of 4 free throws to keep things interesting. LLC scored at the buzzer for the final margin. 

Individual stats

Ward (11 reb, 4 pts, 2 blks) Stoewer (27 pts, 8 reb, 2 asts) Pinnock-Branford (6 pts, 4 reb, 1 chg taken) Coates (9 pts, 7 reb) Easley (7 pts, 3 asts) Becker (2 pts) Hare (1 reb) Faulkner (4 pts, 1 reb) Henderson (5 pts, 2 reb)

Next up

The Cougars will be back in action as they play their first ever M-WAC conference game on Saturday at noon when they host Lewis & Clark at Ramsey Gym. The contest will be available live at www.icc.edu/athletics