Women’s Basketball Hang On for 25th Win
The No. 1 ICC women’s basketball team withstood a 16-4 run by Lewis & Clark over the last five minutes of the game to hold on for a 62-60 win in M-WAC action on Saturday afternoon in Godfrey.
The Cougars held a comfortable 58-44 lead and had the bus all but warming up until the late surge made things interesting. The Trailblazers missed a shot at the buzzer that would have forced overtime, but ICC will take the win as it moves their record to 25-1 (25 in a row), 6-0 in the M-WAC, while Lewis and Clark drops to 14-8.
The start was not ideal for the Cougars as they turned the ball over on three of their first five possessions. Emma Henderson’s 3-pointer gave ICC a 5-4 lead but L&C then went on a 9-0 run to go up 14-5. Kathy Pinnock-Branford hit Raven Overman for a basket and then Henderson hit back-to-back 3-pointers, assisted by Abby Coates and Pinnock-Branford, to close the quarter to draw ICC back to just a 14-13 deficit.
The second quarter continued to be a struggle as ICC committed turnovers on seven of their first 11 possessions, which L&C manufactured into a 30-15 lead. The Cougar defense tightened the screws, holding the Trailblazers scoreless the rest of the half. Meanwhile, the offense trudged on, with a Coates’ basket, assisted by Josi Becker, and two freebies to cut the deficit to 30-19. Jordyn Hare hit a layup, with another Becker assist, and Pinnock-Branford drew a charge on L&C, giving ICC the ball with 11 seconds in the half. Hare swished a 15 footer from the baseline, assisted by Stoewer, just before the buzzer to cut the hosts’ lead to 30-23 at the half.
The Cougars came out with a purpose as Stoewer nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key, assisted by Coates, to get things rolling. Henderson hit Faulkner for a bucket and Stoewer nailed another 3-pointer and turned a steal into a layup to give the Cougars a 33-32 lead. Henderson sank a 3 from the top of the key on a set play and the defense again tightened, creating transition opportunities. Pinnock-Branford hit a runner, followed by a Hare put-back, and Coates found Easley for a layup to help ICC to a 47-41 lead heading into the fourth period.
After each team scored on their first possessions, the Cougars went on a 9-0 run behind two Stoewer baskets, a Coates’ layup, assisted by Becker, and Henderson’s fifth trey of the game, assisted by Becker, to put ICC up 58-44 with five minutes left. And that’s when the Cougar surge hiccupped, as they rushed shots and let down on defense. The lead was still at 62-54 with 1:20 to play, but L&C quickly converted two Cougar turnovers and a missed shot into six points and to draw to within 62-60 with :39 seconds remaining. The Cougars ran a possession but an errant pass went out of bounds, giving L&C the ball with 11 seconds left just past half-court. The Trailblazers drove the right baseline and shot a runner but the shot was short and the Cougars held on for the win.
The Cougars will host John Wood on Wednesday, February 20 at Ramsey Gym in a 5:30 pm contest with the men’s teams following at 7:30 pm. The athletic department will be accepting donations for the ICC Student Food Bank; fans can bring canned or boxed goods (we request a minimum of 3 items) in lieu of paying for admission to the game. Live-stream will be available through ICC.edu/athletics.