Coming off a tough loss to No. 1 ranked St. Norbert the previous week, the Lawrence University women’s basketball team (3-8, 1-5 MWC) faced Ripon College (5-7, 5-2 MWC) at Alexander Gymnasium on Saturday, Jan. 11, hoping to redeem themselves in the first home game of LU’s Winter Term. Ripon, however, carried their momentum from a 14-point victory over Grinnell College (1-11, 0-7 MWC) the Saturday before, beating the Vikings 55-34.
A pair of Ripon free throws put the first points on the board, but Lawrence soon went on a nine-point run to grab an early lead. Halfway through the first period, the Red Hawks found their groove with a three pointer that began a 20-2 run, and Ripon took the lead 22-11. A minute before the halftime buzzer, Lawrence senior Alex Deshler scored a layup and sophomore Andrea Wilkinson added a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 22-15 at the half. Both teams played very aggressive defense, fighting for the ball and attacking the hoop with a lot of offensive movement. Unfortunately, the Vikings’ shots were not falling like Ripon’s were, and Lawrence fell behind by as many as 23 points. The Red Hawks maintained their lead over the course of the second half and finished the game with 55 points to Lawrence’s 34. Deshler paced the Vikings with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
“We were actually able to execute our offense pretty well, and played our defense how we were supposed to,” reflected junior Kassidy Rinehart. “We just couldn’t finish.” The Viking shots were just simply not falling, as they were outscored more than outplayed. Rinehart explained that only having eight players for a game drives each player to log a lot of minutes. “With such a shallow bench everyone gets tired more easily,” she said.
Focusing on shooting in practice, especially at game speed, the Lawrence women hope to end their losing streak and secure some Midwest Conference victories in the next few weeks. On Tuesday, Jan. 14, the Vikings traveled to Lake Forest (1-11, 1-6 MWC) and on Saturday, Jan. 18 at 3:00 p.m., will take on Grinnell at home in Alexander Gymnasium. The following week, Lawrence will face Ripon a second time, hopefully with a couple of fresh wins to propel them to a successful rematch. “I’m glad we play Ripon again,” said Rinehart. “They are definitely a beatable team.”