Trio of wins is progress for Western women’s basketball

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Trio of wins is progress for Western women’s basketball

Tom Loftus Sports Editor

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During the mid-December to mid-January winter break, the Western Illinois women’s basketball team continued on its drive for respectability.

Following is a recap, in reverse chronological order, of the seven games Western played during winter break:

                                       WESTERN 82,

                                 SOUTHERN UTAH 70

                              (Jan. 14 at Macomb, Ill.)

Four Leathernecks scored in double figures – Sadie Webb (20), Saule Kontautaite (19, a career-high), Valencia Kelly (16) and Michele Salvatori (14) – for Western, which snapped a two-game losing streak.

Western started off shooting well from the field (44.4 percent in the first half), cooling off (29 percent) after intermission but managing to hold on for the win.

                             OAKLAND 75, WESTERN 71

                             (Jan. 9 at Rochester, Mich.)

Guard Sharise Calhoun scored 26 points on 11 of 16 shooting, leading the host Golden Grizzlies to a tense 4-point victory.

Western actually outscored Oakland 38-35 in the second half, but could not quite close the gap.

Sadie Webb (17 points, 2 rebounds), Valencia Kelly (16 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals) and Saule Kontautaite (13 points) paced the Leathernecks.

                                  IPFW 73, WESTERN 54

                              (Jan. 7 at Fort Wayne, Ind.)

IPFW took an early lead against the Leathernecks, then hung on to post a 21-point Summit League win before 301 fans at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind.

The Mastodons (5-10, 3-2) raced out to a 19-7 advantage, with Anna Boese scoring 7 of those 19 points for IPFW, and the Leathernecks (5-9, 2-2) never really recovered.

                                   WESTERN 65, IUPUI 60

                             ( Dec. 31 at Indianapolis, Ind.)

The Leathernecks cranked up the intensity down the stretch, outscoring the Jaguars 13-0 in the final 1:46 to secure a stunning 65-60 come-from-behind victory.

Trailing 60-52 with less than two minutes to play, Western started a furious rally that didn’t end until the final buzzer had sounded.

Salvatori, a 5-foot-10 junior forward, hit a 3-pointer to put the Leathernecks ahead to stay, 61-60, with 44 seconds left.

                                          WESTERN 73,

                                    WILLIAM WOODS 52

                                (Dec. 27 at Macomb, Ill.)

A balanced scoring attack led by Michele Salvatori’s 18 points helped Western coast to an easy win over William Woods, a private university with an enrollment of 1,100, located about 90 minutes west of St. Louis.

                                BRADLEY 93, WESTERN 64

                                  (Dec. 21 at Peoria, Ill.)

Two tough games in two nights was too much for Western, which was led by Valencia Kelly (18 points).

                         NEBRASKA-OMAHA 65, WESTERN 58

                                (Dec. 20 at Macomb, Ill.)

Western shot just 26.3 percent(21 of 80) for the game, while Nebraska-Omaha was 22 of 57 (38.6 percent) from the field.

Webb led all scorers with 22 points and just missed a double-double, finishing with 9 rebounds.

Salvatori contributed 7 points, 9 boards, 2 assists and 1 steal.

Off the bench, junior guard Saule Kontautaite had 8 points and 2 steal, while junior forward Jackie Rieger had 5 points, 7 rebounds and 1 steal.


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