By Brady Busha
The Lawrence University Women’s Basketball team has faced their fair share of tough opponents, and the Prairie Fire of Knox Co llege were no exception. The Vikings (0-13 MWC, 0-17 Overall) faced off against the number one ranked scoring offense in Midwest Conference women’s basketball, and second in the entirety of Division III, on Saturday Jan. 30, and the Prairie Fire (7-6 MWC, 9-9 Overall) left Alexander Gymnasium with the 94-80 win.
In the first half, the Vikings came out looking impressive, fending off the lethal scoring offense of the Prairie Fire as Lawrence built a 19-11 lead in the first half, but by halftime, Knox had reclaimed the lead at halftime, 45-41. The closest the Vikings would get to retaking the lead after this point was a score of 74-69 with six minutes to play.
In the second half, the two teams went toe-to-toe, trading points furiously until the clock began to wind down. With the final minutes of the game, Knox pulled ahead slowly, until the Prairie Fire’s Hailey Leinart sunk a three-point dagger to put them ahead of the Vikings 76-86 with 2:50 to go, effectively ending the Vikings’ hopes of a comeback.
A collection of foul shots gave Knox a big boost offensively, making 32 out of 50 shots from the free throw line to Lawrence’s 18 out of 29. Defensively, both teams played with high intensity. Knox played a full-court press strategy for the entirety of the game, and Lawrence continually regained possession by way of their 32 defensive rebounds.
Knox College’s offensive efforts were led by Jodi Marver, accruing 20 points, 14 by way of free throw. Jamie Blue and Carley Bechen were the closest competitors for top scorer of the team, with 8 points each. Blue’s 7 rebounds were the highest contribution to the team in that area.
Elizabeth Arco of the Vikings led the game in scoring with 29 points, and was no slouch elsewhere, snagging eight rebounds, five assists, four steals, and two blocks. Arco’s four steals led the team. Patsy Kealey racked up 17 points, as well as seven rebounds, and Andrea Wilkinson contributed 14 points and nine rebounds—good for most in the game. Kassidy Rinehart led the team with six assists.