Viking women look to bring home MWC crown this weekend

Andy York

The Lawrence University women’s basketball team is looking to bring home a Midwest Conference basketball championship for the first time since 1999 this weekend at St. Norbert. The Vikings are the second seed in the four-team tournament, which is being held in De Pere. Ripon and Lake Forest are the other two competing teams.
The Vikings finished their regular season on a high note, with a 58-44 victory over Carroll last Saturday. The Vikings trailed much of the first half, but spurred a 14-3 run to take the lead at 25-18 by the half. The Vikings dominated the taller Carroll frontcourt players, as freshman Kelly Mulcahy scored 18 points, and senior Felice Porrata added 10 for LU. The Vikings controlled the tempo the entire second half, and easily took the 14-point victory, clinching the second seed for this weekend.
The Vikings will be competing in the Midwest Conference Tournament for the first time since 2002. The Vikings competed for the top spot and the right to host the tournament all season, but fell a game short of the first-place Green Knights.
The Vikings will play the early game against the third seed, Ripon. The Vikings are led by their inside presence in Porrata and Mulcahy, and their outside presence in junior Claire Getzoff and senior Carla Zarecki. Porrata leads the team in scoring at 14.3 points per game, with Getzoff in second at 13.1 points per game. Porrata also leads the team in rebounding with 7.3 a game, and leads the MWC with 2.7 steals per game. The Vikings will need to shoot well to advance, something they have not done well at the Schuldes Sports Center. The Vikings split with Ripon this season, losing early on the road, 58-52, and then gaining revenge at home in February, winning 59-54.
Senior Janine Emmer and junior Karolyn Dehn lead the Redhawks. Dehn leads the team at 15.8 points per game, second in the MWC, and is hitting 65 percent of her shots for the season. Emmer comes in second in scoring, with 14.4 points per game, and leads the team in rebounding with 7.4 a game. The Redhawks have the best frontcourt in the MWC, topped off by senior Amanda Guay, who is third in scoring behind Dehn and Emmer at 11.3 points per game. The Vikings will need a good post defense out of their players to defeat Ripon for the second time this season. Ripon split the season series with all three other tournament teams.
The other semifinal match-up pits the host St. Norbert against the fourth seed, Lake Forest. The Vikings split their two games against the Green Knights this season, winning at home 57-56, and losing in De Pere 62-49. The Green Knights are led by junior Shannon Robak, who is the only Green Knight in double figures at 10.8 points per game. The Green Knights have a balanced offensive attack, and the best defense in the MWC. St. Norbert is only allowing 56.3 points per game, and has allowed an opponent to score over 60 points only once in the last 14 games. The Green Knights lost three MWC games this season, one each to all the other teams in the tournament.
The Vikings lost to Lake Forest 82-69 on the road in their only game against the team this season. Senior Kristy Freeman, who averages 13.4 points per game leads the Foresters. Devon Liebel is second on the team in scoring with a 10.6 point per game average. The Foresters split the season series with both St. Norbert and Ripon.
The Vikings semifinal game will tip off at 5 tonight at St. Norbert. If the Vikings can defeat Ripon, they will play for the championship at 2 p.m. Saturday. The winner of the MWC tournament will be the MWC Champion, and will get the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The selections for the NCAA’s will be announced at 9 p.m. Sunday at