Cougars Outlast Blazers; Earn #1 Seed in Region 24 Tourney
The #9 ICC women’s basketball team outlasted John Wood CC to get a gritty 69-66 win on Saturday afternoon and earn the #1 seed for the upcoming Region 24 Tournament this week. The Cougars held a 66-57 lead with just under 4:00 to play but empty ICC possessions and a 9-3 JW run made things interesting before Josi Becker closed things out with free throws. In addition to the #1 seed, the Cougars earned a second consecutive undefeated regular season MWAC Conference championship.
End of 1st quarter: ICC 22, John Wood 17
The Cougar offense was in sync early with lots of contributors. Ayanna Gibbs, Courtney Heffren, Summer Stoewer, Jordyn Hare, and Maia Marshall all had scores but ICC was unable to get much of a lead as JW converted on offensive rebound put-backs.
Halftime: ICC up 38-32
Gibbs scored on the first possession and took a charge on defense followed by two scores by Heffren and a nifty layup by Marshall giving the Cougars a 32-26 lead. Moriah Ward had a nice up-and under move, Becker found Stoewer in transition and Camryn Stafford added a basket for the halftime lead.
End of 3rd: ICC 54, JW 49
The Cougar defense allowed only one Blazer score in their first 9 possessions, while Stafford provided the offensive punch with six points and Jordyn Hare added a basket to open a 46-35 lead. Stoewer assisted Heffren and Stafford on two baskets to put ICC up 50-41 but JW finished the quarter on an 8-2 run to close to within 54-49 heading into the final stanza.
Stafford started the quarter with a layup, Stoewer scored, and two Heffren scores gave the Cougars a 62-53 lead but John Wood continued to nip at the Cougars’ heels. Stafford and Stoewer added the final field goals for ICC, posting a 65-57 lead with 3:47 left. ICC went cold, missing their next six shots and despite Hare taking a charge, the Cougar defense uncharacteristically softened, allowing the Blazers to slowly creep back in. ICC kept JW at bay as Becker hit 3 of 4 free throws to seal the win. Final stats showed that JW shot 43% from the field for the game, the highest percentage against ICC in quite some time. After shooting 56% in the first half, ICC cooled off considerably, managing only 32% in the 2nd half to finish 43% on the day. The Cougars shared the ball well, dishing out 19 assists.
Game goals met:
Free throw percentage: 9-10, 90%
Met turnover goal
Opponent less < than 30% from 3pt (4-14, 29%)
Take a charge: Gibbs, Hare
Leading guard rebounder: Stoewer 8
Leading post rebounder: Stafford 6