Women win three of three on the home front

Peter Griffith

The LU women’s basketball team swept this week’s home stand to keep pace in the upper echelon of the Midwest Conference with two games remaining. The Vikings hosted Knox and Illinois College over the weekend and Beloit Wednesday night, and had little trouble with the bottom three teams in the league.
Friday night brought the Prairie Fire of Knox College to Alexander Gymnasium. Knox battled to a hard-fought 13-12 lead nine minutes into the first half but Lawrence used a 31-9 run over the half’s final 11:10 to take a commanding 43-21 halftime lead. Knox would never get within 18 points in the second half as LU cruised to a 79-51 win. Lawrence was led by sophomore Kelly Mulcahy who grabbed 9 rebounds to go with her 19 points.
Illinois College was Lawrence’s next victim, as Saturday night went much the same way as the night before. Lawrence jumped out to a 47-24 halftime lead en route to a 69-52 victory. That 17-point margin of victory was the closest IC got in the second half. Mulcahy again led LU in scoring with 16 points and sophomore Carrie Van Groll had another good game off the bench, picking up 15 points, 2 assists and 1 block. Van Groll has now scored at least 12 points off of the bench, in seven of the Vikes’ last eight games.
The Vikings had to rely on defense on Wednesday evening to overcome a feisty Beloit squad. Lawrence held the Buccaneers to a dismal 14.8 percent from the floor in the first half, and it wasn’t until the 5:25 mark that Beloit broke the tens column on the scoreboard. LU didn’t shoot too much better in the first half but 27.3 percent was all it took to stake the Vikes a 26-11 halftime lead. Both teams would improve their shooting in the second half and Beloit would get as close as 9, but the Vikings pulled away to defeat the Bucs 59-36. Mulcahy, a guard from Glendale, Wis., scored 14 to lead the Vikings in scoring for the third straight game.
Unfairly overshadowed by their male counterparts this year, the ladies are in first place in the conference and poised to join the men as Midwest Conference regular-season champions. Just like the men’s team, they face a crucial road game next week against Carroll, who is half a game behind the Vikes.