February 2, 2012

Second half surge pushes IC past Knox

A tale of two halves does not even begin to describe it. The Knox College women’s basketball team’s loss to Illinois College on Saturday Jan. 28 could only be described as a case study of multiple personality syndrome.
After eight minutes of back and forth action Knox was even with the Lady Blues 24-24. From that point until the end of the half the Prairie Fire exerted systematic domination. Knox forced 14 turnovers, and with the help of four three pointers from freshman Jodi Marver, outscored Lawrence 34-18 to end the half with a 58-42 lead.
“We played a great first half against IC,” head coach Emily Cline said. “That was our best half of the season.”
Knox went 8-20 from behind the arc during the first 20 minutes of play, the best output for a single half this season. The Prairie Fire also sunk an impressive 12 of its 13 first-half attempts from the charity stripe.
But while in the first half the women looked as if missing were not an option, things could not have been more different in the second frame.
Knox shot just 22 percent from the field in the second half, down from 42 percent in the first. This combined with a torrid Lady Blue second-half shooting attack that converted on 76 percent of its field goal attempts, resulted in the Prairie Fire surrendering a 17-0 run early in the half, and the Lady Blues had regained the lead after just seven minutes of play.
Lawrence built on the lead with a 13-3 run midway through the half, and despite a late scoring surge that saw the Prairie Fire trim the IC advantage to 99-91 with 34 seconds remaining, four free throws from Illinois College sophomore forward Brittney Burgess gave the games its final score of 103-91.
“We completely let down in the second half and got outworked. I don’t know if we thought we had the game won and relaxed or what but playing one good half is not enough to win a game,” coach Cline said of the collapse.
The loss cut short Knox’s two-game winning streak and continued the season long trend of blown leads for the women, a trend which senior Lynn Mueller attributed to a lack of conditioning and concentration.
“I think our biggest challenges [are] just that we have had a lack of energy on the floor. We have a tough time coming out of the locker room [in the second half] so that kind of sets us back to begin with.”
Marver led Knox with 16 pointsin the game , while senior forward Krystyna Williams netted 14 rebounds for the Prairie Fire.

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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