Muskies stay hot behind the arc, down Lawrence
Athletics - posted on 11/21/2008
SHEBOYGAN-Five different players scored in double figures as Lakeland opened the eighth annual "Play with Grace" Coaches vs. Cancer Tip-Off Tournament with an 84-62 victory over Lawrence Friday evening at Wolzen Gymnasium.
With the victory, the Muskies (2-0) move on to play in the championship game against Cornell at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Cornell defeated Northland 61-57 in the second game Friday night.
Freshman Becca Paulson (Clayton) scored a team-high 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting, draining four 3-pointers in her second collegiate game.
"I just came out and shot," said Paulson. "I tried to find an open shot, and if I couldn't find it I'd go to the post or find an open guard to see if she could dribble it in or figure out another play that we could run."
"I think Becca found her shot early on and it seemed that she had kind of a quiet 20," said Lakeland head coach Teri Johnson. "She did a lot in the second half and it's great to see a freshman step up."
Paulson's hot hand was aided by a double-double from junior KC Blahnik (Gladstone, Mich.). Blahnik contributed 14 points while also leading the team with 10 rebounds and five assists.
The Muskies trailed for just 48 seconds when Lawrence connected on their first shot of the night. Lakeland tied the game on a pair of free throws and never looked back, building a 16-point lead before entering halftime with an 38-26 advantage.
"One of our points of emphasis tonight was controlling the tempo," Johnson said. "We felt that we could do that offensively, but even more so on defense and I think that helped us with our confidence. I think we did control the tempo in the first half. We kind of let down in the second half but we picked it up toward the end."
Lakeland was tested midway through the second as their 16-point halftime lead was whittled down to six on three separate occasions, the final on a layup by Erin Henzi with 11:35 remaining in the game. The Muskies responded by closing out the game on a 32-16 point run.
Sophomore Mary Dennewitz (Chicago, Ill.) scored 12 of her 14 in the second off the bench, connecting on all four of her attempts behind the arc. As a team Lakeland shot above 50 percent from 3-point range for the second straight contest, making 13-of-25.
Senior Kasey Gussert (Kingston, Mich.) and junior Katie Kilton (Waukesha) each added double-digit point totals, scoring 14 and 10 points respectively.
"It's good to know we had five people in double-digits" Johnson said. "That helped us out a lot. It gives us confidence that we have a lot of players we can go to other than depending on just one or two."
Henzi led the Vikings with 25 points with Laura Aerts adding 20 points and four assists.
The Muskies edged the Vikings on the glass, out-rebounding Lawrence 33 to 28. Lakeland also forced 19 turnovers.
"I don't think we were as aggressive on the inside as we were on the outside," said Johnson. "At halftime we talked about having balanced shots, about not only relying on our outside shooting. We have to get a little more aggressive. We did that a little bit in the first half but I thought we really stepped up our inside play after halftime."
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