Cougars Lose in OT in Regional Tournament March 7-8

The ICC women’s basketball team lost an overtime heart-breaker on Sunday afternoon, March 8, in the Region 24 championship game at Ramsey Gym, losing to Lake Land 80-75.  The ladies had a big 27-11 lead at the beginning of the second quarter, but the Lakers clawed back to outscore the Cougars 69-48 the rest of the way, denying ICC the chance at a “three-peat” as Region 24 champions for the third consecutive year.  The Cougars finish their season at 25-7.

End of 1st quarter:  22-11

The Cougars could not have gotten off to a better start as Ayanna Gibbs took a charge on the opening defensive possession to set the tone for the quarter.  The Cougars opened the game on a 12-2 run behind six points from Gibbs, a Summer Stoewer basket, and a three-pointer by Josi Becker (assists Gibbs).  Courtney Heffren added another three-pointer on an assist from Gibbs and the ICC defense held down the high-powered Laker attack with solid defense, limiting them to 2-15 shooting (11%).

Halftime:  ICC 41, Lake Land 30

Maia Marshall hit a three-pointer (assist Becker) and Stoewer hit a jumper to put the Cougars up 27-11 to give ICC their biggest lead of the day. Gibbs took another charge and the Cougars got scores from Jordyn Hare and Moriah Ward, but the Lakers went on a run to cut their deficit to 33-30 with a minute to play.  However, the Cougars closed the half on an 8-0 run as Stoewer nailed a three-pointer (assist Marshall), Marshall hit a shake-and-bake layup in transition (assist Stoewer), and Hare threw a long pass to Stoewer for a layup and the ensuing free throw to give ICC momentum going into the half.

End of 3rd quarter:  Lake Land 50, ICC 49

The defensive effort that got the Cougars their big lead stranded them in the third and took with it the hot shooting as Lake Land outscored ICC 20-8 to take control of the game.  Lake Land improved their shooting to 56% (9-16) while ICC managed just a 3-15 effort (20%) on scores from Becker (4 points), Stoewer, and Gibbs.  The Cougars toyed with a zone defense to try and stem the tide, but their rebounding suffered, allowing Lake Land to take control of the game.

End of regulation:  70-all

Lake Land continued racking up points on uncontested drives to the basket to stay in the driver’s seat and held a 68-60 lead with 3:32 to play.  However, the Cougars had one final push as Stoewer buried a trey (assist Becker), Ward finished inside (assist Becker), and Gibbs took another charge and then converted in the paint (assist Stoewer) to draw ICC to within 70-66 with 2:16 to play.  Gibbs added another basket (assist Becker) and the Cougars held on defense and Ward snagged the rebound and was fouled with :16 seconds to play.  She calmly sank the two free throws and ICC stopped the Lakers on the final possession to force overtime.

Overtime:

Lake Land drew first blood to go up 72-70 but Becker answered with a three-pointer (assist Gibbs) for a 73-72 lead, but it was short-lived as LLC scored on the next possession to take the lead for good.  ICC managed only a Stafford score to draw to within 78-75, but Lake Land closed the game out with free throws to close the game.  Final stats showed the Lakers owning the boards (45-33) and hitting 22 of 23 free throws while ICC went 13-16.  Ironically, the Cougars had a 13-game winning streak coming into the contest, with their last loss on January 15 at the hands of the Lakers, who are now 29-3 overall.

Individual stats:

Becker (10 pts, 8 asts) Hare (2 pts, 2 reb) Ward (6 pts, 6 reb) Stoewer (18 pts, 9 reb, 2 ast) Stafford (7 pts, 5 reb, 3 ast) Marshall (5 pts) Heffren (8 pts, 5 reb) Gibbs (19 pts, 4 asts, 3 reb)

Post-season honors:

Three Cougars were named All-Region for their efforts this season in Josi Becker, Summer Stoewer, and Ayanna Gibbs.  Stoewer was named the MWC Conference Player of the Year and received 1st team honors, while Gibbs made the All-MWAC 2nd team.  The ICC coaching staff (Karrie Redeker, Stan Prosser, Greg Martin, Dennie Hieronymus, Jayson Alexander, Destiny Ramsey, Brooklyn Eberle) were named MWAC coaching staff of the year.

Other:

While our team would love to have continued our season today, we’re thankful for the ride this team took us on.  Looking back, we made fantastic memories from our trip to Louisiana, won the Cougar Holiday Tourney in late December, and were crowned the MWAC regular season champions for the second year in a row.  We are thankful for our seven sophomores (Becker, Hare, Catora Brown, Ward, Ariana Washington, Stoewer, Marshall) for their dedication to our program and know they will continue to big things as they continue their education or careers elsewhere after ICC.

Special thank you’s to our table crew for their assistance during the season and the tournament:  Bob Thommen (stat board), Donna Thomas & Margaret Kizer (stats), Mindy Stille, Casey Danley, Mike Mercer (clock), Dave Mateer, Kelly Gallick, Brett Kelley (book), Ben Diggle (PA), Alex Staab (audio broadcasts & PA), Mike Gehringer (athletic trainer) and Heather Doty & Tony Wysinger (co-interim athletic directors).

This team used the theme, “we will” to give us wonderful memories that will last a lifetime.  Thanks to all of the Cougar families and fans for your support!