Women’s basketball picks up second straight win at home

Bradley Piros, Sports Editor

 

MACOMB, Ill. — The Western Illinois University women’s basketball team continued their three-game home stand with a 91-51 win over the University of Illinois-Springfield Prairie Stars. With the win it brings Western’s record to 2-1, as they remain undefeated at home.

The Leathernecks were off to a hot start going 9-12 from beyond the arc and 12-19 from the field. That helped them secure a 33-11 lead after the first quarter. Redshirt freshman guard Carla Flores led the way from three-land going 3-4 on the night.

Western kept their foot on the gas headed into the second going 4-5 beyond the arc. UIS struggled to maintain any sort of offense and just couldn’t keep up with the Leathernecks. At half, Western had a comfortable 30-point lead, 54-24.

The third quarter saw the Prairie Stars gain a little ground thanks to a couple of Western fouls and miscues. Western gave up 16 fouls on the night and UIS cashed in on 11 of those chances. On the other hand, the Prairie Stars gave up 19 handing Western 13 free points.

Thanks to the fouls given by Western and a temporary lull, the Leathernecks only outscored UIS 17-15. The fourth quarter saw the Leathernecks find their groove again and pull away even further.

In the final 10 minutes, the Leathernecks cashed in on three more three-pointers, but shot their worst percentage from the field at only 37.5 percent. In the end, it was just too much to overcome for the Prairie Stars as Western picked up their second straight win.

As a team, Western went 31-57 (54.4 percent) from the field and 16-27 (59.3 percent) from behind the arc. Head coach JD Gravina was pleased with how his team was shooting, especially early on.

“Especially early, it just kind of made us feel comfortable and gave us a little bit of a lead and it’s a lot easier to play up 10 . . .You can play a lot freer,” Gravina said.

Because of Western’s early spark they were able to maintain their lead for the entirety of the game. They went on an 18-point run in the second quarter and never looked back.

Overall, senior guard Olivia Kaufmann led the way for the Leathernecks with her 17 points, four assists and two steals. Sophomore guard Elizabeth Lutz followed her with 14 points off the bench. Also with double digits were junior guard Grace Gilmore and redshirt senior guard Annabel Graettinger.

Western will close out their home stretch against the Sycamores of Indiana State University before heading onto the road to face Purdue, coming back home to play Bradley and then leaving again to face Drake.

It’s a tough upcoming week for the Leathernecks, but they are confident in their play after taking the Missouri Tigers to overtime in their season opener. They can hang with these bigger schools and that’s what they’ll have to do next week.

Until then, the Leathernecks have Indiana State to worry about at home tomorrow night. Tip off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. inside Western Hall.

Twitter: @bradjp08