Getting out-rebounded 53-21 is not typically a recipe for success and the Knox College women’s basketball team found out the hard way in a 117-86 loss to Illinois College on Tuesday night.
Going into the game Head Coach Emily Cline knew the league leading Lady Blues (9-4, 7-1 MWC) were “ a big team that [was] going to provide a challenge,” but despite Knox’s best efforts their disadvantage inside proved too much to overcome.
Illinois College received a monster performance from forward Hannah McGinnis who tallied 32 points and 18 rebounds, leading all players in both categories for the game.
On the other side Knox played without its leading scorer junior Jodi Marver who was ruled out of the game with tonsillitis.
Beyond the surface production Marver would have been able to provide (she’s averaging 14.8 points per game this season) senior Chantal Heckman mentioned that missing a body always makes running the up-tempo “system” difficult.
“It was difficult because we had to shift some lineups around,” Heckman said.
With only 12 players on the roster, the Prairie Fire are pressed for depth when it comes to their style of play, and were similarly hampered earlier in the season when junior Becky Duffy missed five games with a concussion.
Duffy led the Prairie Fire with 17 points, 13 of which came from the free-throw line, while Heckman finished with 15.
Prior to the loss to the Lady Blues Knox pulled off victories against Bethany Lutheran and Grinnell Colleges. Though the Prairie Fire have had problems holding the lead at times this season, the Prairie Fire closed both games strong to come away with the victory.
“We did a better job of making free throws and making smarter decisions with the ball. We also moved to playing zone at the end of both those games,” coach Cline said.
Knox gets a chance to avenge one of their most frustrating losses when Carroll comes to Galesburg on Saturday. The Prairie Fire led 55-37 at halftime and were up 15 points with just 11 minutes to play in the first meeting between the two teams but ultimately fell 104-94.
“We know we can stick with Carroll, we just need to put it together for two halves,” Heckman said.