The IVCC women’s basketball team took a four-point halftime lead over No. 7-ranked Illinois Central College on Saturday but could not hang on down the stretch as the Lady Eagles fell 69-54 in non-conference action.
“I thought we played a really good half, and a pretty good first 10 minutes (of the second half). But the last eight minutes of the game, they were so strong inside. We had a tough matchup with them inside. I take my hat off to them, they played a tough game. They’re a great team,” said IVCC coach Pat Cinotte, whose squad was outscored 23-8 over the final 9:49 of the contest. “They’re ranked No. 7 for a reason, and the inside was the difference.”
The Cougars (19-3) were able to create multiple scoring opportunities throughout the night with second, third and even fourth-chance baskets due to 25 offensive rebounds. Demeisha Morris led the way with six offensive boards as part of a game-high 10 total rebounds.
“We’d get one shot and miss and they’d get the rebound. Down there (at ICC’s basket), they’d get 3-4 shots until they made it,” Cinotte said. “I give my girls a lot of credit, I thought they played a hard 32 minutes. We just didn’t finish the game. We have to get better in the next 10 games and finish.”
Before ICC’s closing run, the two squads battled evenly with 10 ties.
The Lady Eagles (15-6) led 31-27 heading into the second half after a basket from Arnisha Thomas just before the buzzer, and took their biggest advantage of the game at 35-29 on a putback from Sydonia Daniels with 18:35 left.
But the Cougars, who outscored IVCC 42-23 in the second half, tied things up at 46-46 on a layup in transition from Chanta Wright with 10:30 left and never looked back with the momentum in hand.
Thomas led IVCC with 16 points and grabbed a team-best nine rebounds. Daniels added 10 points and seven boards, while Kadijah Parker chipped in 10 points for IVCC.
Wright led all scorers with 27 points on 12-of-21 shooting from the field. Morris added 14 points and Shavonn Watkins had 10 for the Cougars.
“They’re a very strong, physical team. You knew it was going to be a war in there. Coach (Cindy) Stein does a good job with her players. They’re well coached and a good team,” Cinotte said.
Chris Yucus can be reached at 220-6995 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsChris.