Vikings defeated by Lady Blues in mental health awareness game

Women’s basketball cheering from the sidelines during 
the mental health awareness game. Photo provided by the Lawrence University Athletics Department.

The Lawrence University women’s basketball team hosted their Mental Health Matters Game last Saturday, Feb. 3, but couldn’t pull out a win over the Illinois College Lady Blues in a 67-51 Midwest Conference loss. Despite the defeat, Alexander Gymnasium was packed with students, families and friends to show support for student-athlete mental health.  

Junior Nikola Kuzmanovic started the Vikings off with a 3-pointer about three minutes into the first quarter. The Vikings trailed behind until junior Maggie Culver made a solid jumper to give the Vikings an 8-7 lead. First-year Charlotte Brennan followed up with another basket, and senior Emma Carlson made two free throws to give the Vikings a 12-7 lead by the end of the first quarter.  

However, turnovers during the second quarter gave the Lady Blues a double-digit lead by halftime. The Lady Blues pressed aggressively and allowed the Vikings only 6 points in the second quarter. Three-pointers were dropping for the Lady Blues that secured them a double-digit lead for the rest of the game.  

The Vikings managed to put 18 points on the board in the third quarter, but the Lady Blues’ buckets continued to drop, posting 24 points in the third quarter. Senior Maya Smith of Illinois College led four Lady Blues players in double figures with 14 points. 

Illinois College built a 22-point advantage early in the fourth quarter, and Lawrence didn’t get closer than 12 points the rest of the game. Illinois College defeated Lawrence 67-51.  

Carlson (of the Vikings) had her first home game back of the season after an injury and put up 6 points, along with an impressive 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. Culver also had a big game with a double-double, 16 points and 14 rebounds.  

Despite the loss, there was a wonderful turnout to show support for student-athlete mental health. Before the game, there was a message from Libby Crandal, a senior from Sartell, Minn., who serves as Lawrence’s campus captain for The Hidden Opponent (THO). THO is a national advocacy group that raises awareness for student-athlete mental health and seeks to reduce the stigma surrounding it. Crandal has done a phenomenal job demonstrating the importance of student-athlete mental health, and she continues to make tremendous strides for future Lawrence University athletes.  

The Vikings were back in action at home on Tuesday, Feb. 6 with another conference match-up against Lake Forest College to celebrate Girls and Women in Sports Day, which the Vikings won 71-41.