February 9, 2011

Prairie Fire drop two in weekend home-stand

Inconsistency proved to be the downfall for the Knox College women’s basketball team this past weekend in home losses to Carroll University and Ripon College.
On Friday against the Pioneers (12-5, 7-4 MWC), Knox looked solid early on. Led by senior guard Jenny Haskell’s 12 first-half points, Knox shot 50 percent (10-20) from the field and took a 28-27 advantage into the break.
Things turned when Carroll opened the second frame with a 7-0 run.
“I think we got really anxious during halftime,” junior guard Abby Owens said, “Carroll is a good team but we knew that we could play with them. It seemed like we played too cautiously in the second half.”
Knox did not fade away however, as Krystyna Williams took over inside. The junior forward scored 16 of her 20 points in the second half, and helped pull Knox to within a 49-48 deficit with six and a half minutes to play.
But Knox could not get the defensive stops down the stretch. Carroll guard and Midwest Conference scoring leader Lyndsey Seewald (19.4 PPG) scored or got an assist on every one of the Pioneers’ final 14 points, including five free throws that ultimately sealed the 64-55 loss for the Prairie Fire.
Against Ripon, a poor start kept the Prairie Fire from reaching victory.
In the first half, Knox committed a disastrous 18 turnovers and shot just 28 percent from the floor.
“We just had a lack of concentration,” Owens said, “We really wanted the win but seemed to forget that we should take the game one possession at a time.”
It also didn’t help that Ripon guard Kacie Cullen was on fire from three-point range. The Red Hawks’ freshman knocked down four treys in a two minute span, leaving Knox down 30-15 at half.
However, the Prairie Fire were determined not to let the game get out of hand.
“During halftime the team came up with goals for second half. We talked about cutting the lead to a certain mark by the five and 10 minute marks, and this helped us stay focused,” Owens said.
Knox was able to stick to the plan early in the second half, cutting the lead to seven with 15 minutes left to play. But the comeback never fully materialized and the Red Hawks (6-14, 5-10 MWC) came away with a 57-44 victory.
The game was not without positives, though, as Knox out-rebounded Ripon for the game, and junior forward Kelly Ricketts (14 points, 11 rebounds) recorded her first double-double of the season.
Knox (5-14, 4-10 MWC) hits the road Wednesday to take on Illinois College. The Prairie Fire lost to the Lady Blues 74-56 in the first match-up two weeks ago.

Jackson White
Jackson White is a senior double majoring in political science and secondary education. This is his third year as a sports editor for TKS. Over the course of the 2010-2011 academic year, Jackson worked for cornbeltbaseball.com, writing feature stories and columns about high school and college baseball in central Illinois. Outside of the Publications Office, he is an information assistant for the Knox College Sports Information Department and a two-time all-Midwest Conference baseball player. Jackson is the recipient of five awards from the Illinois College Press Association, including two first place awards for sports game coverage and sports page design.

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