Second Half Come-back Helps Muskies Sneak Away with Win in OT
Athletics - posted on 2/13/2008
Although the Lakeland College women's basketball team man-handled Marian College the first time around, when the teams faced each other for their second Northern Athletics Conference contest of the season it took the Muskies an overtime period to escape with a 57-54 victory in Fond du Lac on Wednesday, Feb. 13.
Lakeland (13-10, 10-6 NAC) defeated Marian at home on January 31, 83-69, thanks to an aggressive defensive trapping philosophy that stunned the Sabres into committing 21 turnovers combined with a solid 51 percent shooting effort. The squad unleashed that same hostile defense on Marian this time around as well, forcing 20 turnovers, but had trouble bringing the offensive half of the equation.
It may even seem impressive that Lakeland was able to make a comeback run at all, considering that the squad trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half due to a painful 23.3 percent shooting effort from the floor. The Muskies were able to close the gap somewhat in the latter stages of the first half to head into the locker room down just 30-24.
"It was a combination of not getting looks on the inside, missing shots on the outside early on and not capitalizing on the opportunities they were giving us," said Lakeland head coach Teri Johnson. "But eventually we started hitting some of those outside shots and our intensity was stronger the last five minutes of the first half to help us close the gap."
Lakeland improved its scoring efforts slightly throughout the second half in order to shrink the Sabres' lead even further, pulling ahead for the first time on a jumper by sophomore guard KC Blahnik with 13:34 left in regulation. When a scoring scramble ensued with the clock winding down, the two squads found themselves knotted at 46 points apiece to force the extra period.
However, the Muskies had the momentum they had built up throughout the second half behind them and never trailed in overtime to secure the important victory.
"We did a great job in overtime," Johnson said. "We came out strong from the beginning, and it took a complete team effort to get us back in the game. KC Blahnik took over in the first part of the second half, Terra Hiben had some crucial steals and Megan Chart played scrappy defense. We went from being down in the first half, coming back in the second half, then sticking it to them in overtime."
Senior guard Peggy Keiper topped the scoring column for the Muskies with 14 points, while Blahnik followed with 11 points and 14 rebounds for a double-double. Chart, a sophomore guard, also tallied 11 points with eight rebounds and a team-high three steals.
The win keeps the Muskies in contention for a spot in the upcoming NAC tournament, while the Sabres (8-13, 5-9 NAC) are now more than likely removed from that chance given the fact that trail the next team above them by three games.
Lakeland will continue NAC play with its second-to-last regular-season game against Concordia University Chicago on Saturday, Feb. 16.
"I hope this game was a wake-up call for us," Johnson said. "I hope we can take things away from this game and learn from them for Saturday. Everyone is scrambling to get a higher seed in the tournament, so it's a big game both for them and for us."
Game time with CUC is set for 2 p.m. in River Forest, Ill.
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