Women eyeing senior night win



Emily Clemens searches for an open teammate.

Bradley Piros, Courier Staff

MACOMB, ILL. – The Western Illinois university women’s basketball team is looking to keep their three-game winning streak going on Friday afternoon when they take on the South Dakota State Jackrabbits inside Western Hall at 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

This will be the last game on their three-game home stretch before heading to North Dakota State University on Thursday. It’s also their last home game of the season, meaning it’s senior day as well.

Western has six seniors leaving this year, which leaves a gap in the next couple of years to keep up their success as of late. Among those seniors are Emily Clemens, Olivia Braun, Morgan Blumer, Taylor Hanneman, Michelle Farrow and Krishna Merriman. All of these players have had a terrific final season with the Leathernecks and are looking to finish their college basketball careers off right.

The Leathernecks are in terrific form, having won five out of their last six games; their only loss coming to the University of South Dakota Coyotes 92-81. Four of those wins were against Summit League teams, and the other against the Eureka College Red Devils.

The Leathernecks won that game 98-46, completely dominating Eureka College, and increasing their record to 19-7. Senior guard Morgan Blumer tallied 18 points with two assists, shooting 46 percent from the field and making 5-11 three-pointers. Following her performance was junior guard Taylor Higginbotham with 15 points and two steals.

Western started that game off strong as they went on an 11-0 run in the early minutes, contributed mainly by senior guard Emily Clemens with two layups. The Red Devils would get on the board with a successful three-point shot, but they couldn’t do much else. The Leathernecks went back on the attack, scoring 17 unanswered points, giving them a lead of 28-3 after the first quarter.

The Leathernecks kept their foot on the gas pedal during the second quarter, taking a demanding lead of 50-13 into the halftime break. Blumer had 11 points in the first half while Higginbotham followed right behind her with 10. Also getting on the score sheet was senior forward Olivia Braun with seven points.

Western opened up the third quarter with a successful layup from senior forward Krishna Merriman followed by a three-pointer from Clemens. Both players would end the night with 12 points each. After another 10 minutes, the Leathernecks would lead 74-31 heading into the fourth quarter.

Once again it was Western that was kicking things off, with shots from Merriman and Higginbotham, making it 77-31, and there wasn’t anyone who could stop the Leathernecks at that point. They went on to win their third straight game as well as their seventh straight home game with a final score again of 98-46. The Leathernecks are now 11-2 at home, but SDSU looks to add to those home losses and snap Western’s winning streak.

The last time these two teams met was about a month ago, when the Leathernecks lost to the Jackrabbits to a score of 84-48. The Leathernecks were away and haven’t boasted a great away record to their standards, currently sitting at 8-5. Western looks to win this rematch in front of a big home crowd on senior day.

The Jackrabbits on the other hand, are 21-5 overall and 10-1 in the Summit League. Their one loss came from the Coyotes. SDSU follows them for second in the Summit League while the Leathernecks trail right behind in third. The Jackrabbits have also won five straight games, winning 11 out of their last 12.

Both teams only have three games remaining, including this one, before the Summit League tournament. Both sides want to win this game and finish the season off strong to get the highest seed in the tournament. Western’s senior class will be giving these last couple of games everything they’ve got, because they’re looking to reclaim that championship and they aren’t letting anything get in their way.

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