Cougars Fight Off Trailblazers, 64-43
The No. 2 Illinois Central College Lady Cougars closed out another Region 24 win Saturday (Jan. 26) afternoon at Ramsey Gym with a final score of 60-43 against the Lewis & Clark Trailblazers.
Summer Stoewer lead the team in scoring and rebounds finishing with a double-double scoring 12 points, with 13 rebounds and also had four assists. This is the Lady Cougars 19th win in a row, making their record 19-1 overall, 2-0 in region play.
ICC cruised through the first quarter allowing the Trailblazers to hang tight. Easley scored the first basket of the game tying the score at 2-2, got a stop on defense and assisted Stoewer in her first 3 pointer of the game.
After those first two baskets, the Cougars went cold and didn’t score again until Kathy Pinnock-Branford’s 3, assisted Easley, at the 6:03 mark. The Blue & Gold continued to play pesky defense and kept the Trailblazers on their heels. The quarter ended in favor of the home team at 18-14 with solid rebounding and scoring from Jordyn Hare, Emma Henderson, Moriah Ward and Abby Coates.
The Lady Cougars went on a 7-0 run to start out the second quarter lead by a Pinnock-Branford mid-range pull up, assisted by Stoewer, a 3 from downtown by Stoewer, assisted by Pinnock-Branford, and a strong fast-break finish by Moriah Ward, assisted by Henderson.
The Trailblazers felt the punch and responded with a basket to end the streak. ICC broke loose again going on a 14-4 lead into the half. Emma Henderson was fouled on a 3-point attempt from the top of the key and drained all three of her free throws.
Active hands on defense by Josi Becker lead to a steal, a pass ahead to Easley, and a beautiful dish to Coates for the layup. On the other end, Moriah Ward protected the paint with a clean block that fell into the hands of Stoewer which lead to a fast-break layup for Easley.
Sharing the ball was something the Blue & Gold took pride in and finished with eight assists just in the second quarter. The ICC defense gave Lewis & Clark problems to end the quarter as the score going into recess was 41-19.
Coming out of the locker room, the Lady Cougars went cold compared to the first half. The Trailblazers weren’t going away and things began to get interesting. ICC went from shooting 46 percent from the field in the first half to shooting 14.3 percent in the second.
Stoewer started the quarter out by putting up a 3 from deep and Madison Faulkner crashed the boards to pull down an offensive rebound which kept the possession alive. The Lady Cougars were able to capitalize on Faulkner’s efforts by putting the ball back in Stoewer’ s hands to drain her next one.
The Trailblazers held ICC scoreless for the next three minutes. Coates was able to break the cold spell with two free throws made from an off the ball foul at the 4:24 mark. The remaining minutes of the quarter consisted of winning on defense as the Lady Cougars went stone cold shooting.
Hare and Becker played a huge role and grabbing big offensive and defensive rebounds to keep the Trailblazers on their toes as they outscored ICC 14 to 11 in the 3rd. Emma Henderson was able to end the quarter with a 3-pointer, assisted by Becker, to give the Blue & Gold a little more breathing room with a score of 52-33 going into the final frame.
The Lady Cougars started off the 4th quarter similar to the 3rd and were glad they had a huge first half. Raven Overman came into the game and made an impact on the glass which helped get ICC going on offense. The remainder of the game consisted of ensuring the Lady Cougars’ shot selection was wise and that they got stops on defense to finish the game out strong. They were able to finish with 17 total assists and outrebounded Lewis & Clark 49 to 46.
Faulkner and Becker were able to seal the deal by going 2-4 from the free-throw line collectively in the final seconds of the game to end it 60-43 at the buzzer.
Becker (3 pts, 3 reb, 3 asts) Ward (6 pts, 5 reb) Pinnock-Branford (7 pts, 1 reb, 4 asts) Hare (4 reb, 2 pts) Coates (8 pts, 6 reb, 2 asts) Overman (1 reb) Easley (10 pts, 1 reb, 3 asts) Henderson (9 pts, 1 reb, 3 asts) Stoewer (13 reb, 12 pts, 4 asts) Faulkner (3 pts, 3 reb)