Hosting Knox College on Saturday, Jan. 25, the women’s basketball team came up short in a nail-biter. The Vikings were ready to send their Midwest Conference rival home with a loss. According to sophomore forward Patsy Kealey, the Knox women play a much faster-paced game with more shot attempts and trapping plays. Kealey explained, “In this style of play, making baskets in transition is key. In the practices leading up to this game, we worked hard on transition offense, getting out of traps and breaking the full-court pressure.”
Throughout the first half, Lawrence was able to keep up with Knox’s fast-paced play behind Kealey, fellow sophomore Katie Schumacher and senior Alex Deshler, who led the way in baskets. They ended the first half neck-in-neck, with the score locked at 34-34. The Vikings started the second half strong, gaining a seven point lead right away. With the help of excellent free-throw shooting by junior Bethany Hoster, the Vikings went up 52-45 with 15:41 left in the game.
Knox was not giving up without a fight, however, and in the next five minutes they were able to hit five three-pointers, beginning their run to victory. The Prairie Fire led the Vikings 65-54 with just under 10 minutes to go. Sophomore Andrea Wilkinson made an outstanding lay-up to trim the Prairie Fire’s lead to nine points, but that was as close as the Vikings would get to catching up. Knox was able to close out the game by a score of 86-75.
When asked what the team’s strengths were this past weekend, junior Kassidy Rinehart replied, “I think we broke the press well and when we passed the ball quickly up the court, we were able to convert that to points.” What hurt the Vikings was the number of girls on the bench. Deshler commented, “That was our only weakness. We just didn’t have the same number of girls as they did and it was hard to not get fatigued.”
The Vikings put up a great fight, as Schumacher put up a double-double with a game-high 20 points and 13 rebounds. Kealey contributed 14 points and nine rebounds for the Vikings, while Deshler added another 13 points and five assists. “I don’t think any one person could be chosen for this week’s MVP. Everyone played hard and almost everyone on our team has some sort of injury or illness. Every single girl played tough through the adversity,” Deshler stated, reiterating their overwhelming sense of team-work and perseverance.