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The Lakeland College women's basketball team survived a tough shooting night in pulling out a 64-56 victory over MSOE Saturday night in Milwaukee.
Despite converting 34 percent (18-52) of their shots, the Muskies performance at the free throw line saved the night. Sinking 22-of-29 attempts, Lakeland made six more free throws than the host Raiders attempted on the evening.
"A big focus of ours coming out of halftime was to get into the bonus as soon as possible," Lakeland head coach Teri Johnson said. "We did a great job of getting to the line in the second half. While we should shoot better from the free throw line than we did, it was a big key in pulling out the victory."
Neither team was able to get much separation in a tightly contested first half. An 18-14 lead by MSOE was the farthest either team could get ahead as the Raiders took a 28-26 lead into the break.
Lakeland, tying the game on the first possession of the second half, shortly found itself down by six. The Muskies were able to chip away and took their first lead of the second half with 10:36 remaining. That lead would be short-lasting as MSOE re-gained the advantage 42 seconds later.
Lakeland (12-5, 7-3 NAC) took the final lead change of the night at the 3:09 mark as Erin Cepa (Glenview, Ill.) broke a 49-49 tie with a free throw. Leading by four, the Muskies made 7-of-8 free throw attempts in the final minute to put away the victory.
"We played a great five minutes of defense at the end," said Johnson. "We struggled to match MSOE's intensity defensively, but our performance in the final few minutes helped to push us ahead."
KC Blahnik (Gladstone, Mich.) led Lakeland with 15 points and nine rebounds. Cepa added 13 points and shot 3-of-4 from behind the arc.
The Muskies forced MSOE (9-7, 6-4) into 21 turnovers and collected 12 steals while committing 14 turnovers of their own, Lakeland's lowest number this season.
Jackie Bertram scored 18 points for MSOE as the Ramblers shot 46 percent from the field but make only 1-of-10 shots from 3-point range.
Lakeland returns to NAC action Tuesday, January 27 at Rockford. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.