Lady Cougars Take Down Cobras
The Illinois Central College women’s basketball team overcame a tentative first half to record a 67-53 win over rival Parkland College on Wednesday (Feb. 6) evening in Ramsey Gym.
The Cougars, who on Feb. 5 moved up to the No. 1 spot in the NJCAA poll for the first time since 2006, came out a little tight while Parkland came out firing, but the Blue & Gold locked in on defense and moved the ball better in the second half to get the win.
ICC also dished out 24 assists, led by Kathy Pinnock-Branford’s seven dimes, and placed three players in double figures — Abby Coates with 17 points, Summer Stoewer with 14 points, and Emma Henderson with 11 points — to move their record to 21-1 overall, 3-0 in MWAC, and 4-0 in Region 24 play. Parkland dropped to 14-9.
The Cougars had prepared for Parkland’s inside game but it was their guards who came out attacking early on. ICC started out with baskets by Marquitta Easley, Abby Coates and Pinnock-Branford, but were still down 11-7 at the 6:20 mark. Summer Stoewer nailed a 3-pointer to draw to within 13-10, but the Cougars went on a four-minute drought the rest of the quarter as they committed five turnovers, allowing Parkland to take a 17-10 lead.
Easley scored on a nice pass from Henderson to start the second period, but Parkland scored again which gave ICC their largest deficit at 22-12 at the 7:50 mark. Pinnock-Branford hauled down a defensive rebound and started the break hitting Stoewer for a layup, and Pinnock-Branford also found Henderson for a trey and Ward for a hoop inside to cut the Cobra lead to 25-19.
ICC dug in on defense, holding Parkland scoreless the final 6:08 of the second period. Josi Becker hit Easley for a 3-pointer from the baseline just before the buzzer, allowing the Cougars headed to head into halftime with a 27-25 advantage.
Each team scored on their opening possessions and the lid finally came off the basket for the Cougars as they went on a 9-0 run started by a Stoewer 3-pointer, and baskets by Henderson, Pinnock-Branford, and Coates to give the Cougars some breathing room at 38-28. Pinnock-Branford scored on a runner and then found Stoewer for another long-range bomb followed by a Madison Faulkner jumper to give the home squad a 47-39 lead heading into the final period.
Coates found gaps in the Parkland zone for two scores to start the fourth, assisted by Faulkner, and Henderson got loose in transition for another basket to put ICC up 55-39. ICC continued to keep the defensive pressure on down the stretch to grab the win.
Becker (3 reb, 1 ast) Hare (1 pt, 2 reb) Faulkner (4 pts, 4 reb, 3 asts) Ward (6 reb, 2 pts) Stoewer (14 pts, asts) Pinnock-Branford (9 pts, 9 reb, 7 asts) Henderson (11 pts, 2 reb, 2 asts) Easley (9 pts, 4 asts, 3 reb)