Western Courier

Leathernecks look to playoffs

Aaron Viner courier staff

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story


Winning its last home game of the season would have been nice, but the Western Illinois women’s basketball team has more important goals to focus on now.

The streaking South Dakota Coyotes dealt the Leathernecks a 62-47 Summit League loss in front of 462 fans at Western Hall Monday evening, dropping Western to 11-16, 7-9 with two regular-season games remaining. Forward Amber Hegge, the league’s third-leading scorer at 18.8 points per game, poured in 26 points and added 9 rebounds to lead the Coyotes.

South Dakota, winners of 9 of its last 10 games, improved to 19-7, 10-6, good for third place in the Summit League. The Coyotes, however, are not eligible for postseason play in this, their first season in the conference.

The Leathernecks, meanwhile, have now dropped 2 straight games after winning 4 of their previous 5 contests. Still, the team is more concerned with looking ahead than dwelling on the past.

 “Tonight was a tough loss, but we know we have to put it behind us,” said Western senior guard Sadie Webb. “(We need to) play well these next two games because after that, we are going to the tournament. We want to go into that playing well.”

Losses on Monday by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (58-56 at Missouri-Kansas City) and Oakland (77-51 at Oral Roberts) left Western in a tie with those two schools for fifth place in the Summit League standings.

Besides South Dakota, only lowly Southern Utah (6-22, 2-15) – which is exiting the Summit League for the Big Sky Conference this fall – will not be competing at the Summit League Basketball Championships, to be held March 3-6 at Sioux Falls Arena in Sioux Falls, S.D.

On Monday, Webb led the Leathernecks with 11 points, followed by senior forward Brittany Demery with 10. Demery’s output included her sixth and seventh 3-pointers of the season. 

Western had a difficult shooting night, finishing 31.1 percent (14 of 45) from the floor and only making four shots from behind the arc, well below its season average of 7.5 3-pointers per game. 

“We actually played defensively well enough to win,” said first-year head coach JD Gravina. “We just didn’t hit shots.  That was about as poor as we could shoot.”

A 3-pointer and a post-up bucket by Demery put the Leathernecks up 7-4 early. “I was being very decisive,” Demery said.  “I got good passes from my teammates.”

After a 3-pointer by Annie Roche (8 points), the Coyotes had a 16-11 lead. South Dakota held a 23-22 advantage at halftime.

The Leathernecks got off to a quick start in the second half, outscoring the Coyotes 8-4 – aided by 3-pointers from junior guard Saule Kontautaite (5 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals) and Demery – to take a 30-27 lead.

South Dakota went on a 10-0 run after that and never relinquished the lead.

The closest Western got after that was 37-32, after sophomore Rebecca Henricson found Michele Salvatori underneath the basket for a layup. 

The Coyotes outscored Western 25-15 the rest of the way. 

The Leathernecks now hit the road, taking on North Dakota State on Saturday at 5 p.m. in Fargo, N.D., then playing their regular-season finale in Brookings, S.D. against South Dakota State on Monday night at 7 p.m.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Leathernecks look to playoffs