Sports / The Prairie Fire / January 22, 2009

Prairie Fire clips Angels’ wings

It was a record-setting day for the Knox College women’s basketball team, as they worked to exorcise their offensive demons against the Lincoln Christian College Angels. The Prairie Fire, 3-10 going into this non-conference match up, faced the 1-11 Angels after a week of tough losses to several conference rivals.

The game started with a basket made by the Angels, but that was their last lead. After two free throws by junior Erin Navolio to tie it, a three by freshman Lynn Mueller gave the lead to the Fire, and Knox never looked back. The hapless Angels were the recipients of a thorough trouncing by Knox College, 77-18.

The Angels looked slower and smaller in all aspects than the Fire and the offensive attack of Knox was able to really come alive. The ball movement was amazing, as the Fire collected 20 assists to Lincoln Christian’s two, though many beautiful passes, particularly by Navolio, wound up as missed baskets.

Knox’s 36 rebounds included 16 on the offensive side, leading to second and third chances that led to the dominant lead the Fire amassed. They were able score practically at will and Lincoln Christian was unable to get a shot off on the other end of the floor. Both sides of the ball were aflame and the Fire walked into the locker room leading 34-8 at halftime. Sophomore Amanda Sicoli, who started her third game in a row, dropped five points and two assists in 18 minutes and helped lead the initial assault the Fire brought.

“I just started starting the past three games,” she said, when asked whether she enjoys her new role. “I guess it depends on the person. I like starting better, get through the jitters faster.”

The Fire actually outscored their own first half output, netting 43 points in the half and allowing only ten more. The Angels shot only 13 percent against the stifling Knox defense, while the Fire offense shot a respectable 42 percent.

“Our defense kind of filtered into the offense,” Sicoli said. “We didn’t set up offense much, because we were running the ball. We ran the ball, because we would get steals from the defense.” Knox forced 23 steals, as Lincoln Christian turned it over 40 times during the game.

It was a record-setting game in many respects, including the largest margin of victory with 59 points — the Fire eclipsed the 14-year mark of 41 points in 1994, a 77-36 win versus Maryville College. Knox’s defensive effort, holding the Angels to 18 points, bettered the old total of 21 against Grinnell College during the 1996-97 season. The dominating win could go a long way in getting the team back on track and to the post season.

“It’s definitely a boost to know we can put our things together and know we can come together and win,” Sicoli said. “Obviously it raises the morale whenever you get a win. It wasn’t even just winning; we played well and we all played together.”

In fact, only three players scored in double-digits in this complete team effort, as Mueller dropped 15 points with five assists and five steals, freshman Krystyna Williams had 12 points and eight rebounds, four on each side of the floor, while junior Kate Moon had ten points and two steals.

A win like this can lift any team mentally, and hopefully, the team can ride the jazz they are feeling into more wins as they travel to face Carroll College tomorrow. A rematch with St. Norbert College on Saturday is a chance to seek vengeance on the Green Knights.

Merritt Rohlfing

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