After a close home loss against Marian to open the season, the Viking women’s basketball team began their Winter Break with four straight Midwest Conference games on the horizon. The Vikings prepared for life without LUnie nation at home and a slew of difficult road games.
During the four-game stretch, the Vikings struggled to find their footing in the first half. Lawrence fell behind 16-4 early at Illinois College and 21-11 to Ripon at the half, both deficits proving insurmountable. The Vikings (0-3, 0-2 MWC) next two contests (at Knox, vs. Carroll College) followed a similar theme, as the Vikings simply could not gain momentum early on. Strong efforts from junior guards Alex Deshler and Amber Lisowe led the charge, but turnovers were detrimental to the Vikings who averaged 38 in the two-game span.
For the Vikings (0-5, 0-4 MWC) to secure their first win, they would need to cut those turnovers in half. Welcome Northland International: The Vikings played host to the Pioneers December 6 and served them more than they could handle. Lawrence scored an impressive 26 consecutive points in the second half en route to a 75-57 victory.
Northland International entered the game with a 4-3 record, making the win even more admirable considering the recent struggles. Sophomore Kassidy Rinehart scored seven points during the second half run and junior Amber Lisowe scored a team-high 25 points in the game.
From Dec. 8 to 17, Lawrence (1-5, 0-4 MWC) played their final four games of the Winter Break period. Unfortunately, they failed to notch a single victory in the span. Although turnovers plagued the Vikings once again, there were a few bright spots. Freshman forward Katie Schumacher dropped 10 points and posted 15 rebounds on Dec. 11 versus Finlandia.
Schumacher has been rock solid in the post ever since, and will be a promising player for years to come. On another positive note, the Vikings outrebounded their opponents in three of the four losses. If Lawrence continues to rebound effectively and eliminate second-chance baskets, they will certainly string together some quality conference wins.
Returning to action after a two-week layoff, the Vikings (1-9, 0-6 MWC) welcomed the Finlandia Lions to Alexander Gymnasium January 3. The LUnies were amped and the women were looking to redeem their earlier loss to the Lions. The Vikings jumped out to a 7-2 lead early, but failed to tame the Lions thereafter.
Finlandia found themselves open from distance and cashed in on their three-point attempts. A 22-6 run put the Lions up 24-13, as Lawrence struggled to hit open shots. After a 32-21 halftime lead, the Lions tried to put the Vikings away by pushing the tempo in the second half. Once again, Finlandia had plenty of real estate on the perimeter.
They held a 43-27 lead with 12:23 remaining before Lawrence showed their resiliency. Lawrence pressed with under ten minutes to go, bringing more energy to the court. Eventually, the Vikings forced Finlandia into some bad decisions.
Lawrence scored 10 of the final 15 points, but it wasn’t quite enough. Finlandia grabbed a 58-52 win, their second six-point win over Lawrence this season.
Sophomore Marissa Burke led the Lions with 16 points and 12 rebounds Schumacher turned in a nice game with 12 points and 8 boards. The 32.4% shooting ultimately downed the Vikings.
Junior guard Alex Deshler commented, “We knew we had to win each possession, offensively and defensively. We threw a press at them and really picked up the intensity. Now we just have to use that intensity for the whole 40 minutes.”
It will take a 40-minute team effort for Lawrence (1-10, 0-6 MWC) to topple Lake Forest (5-7, 3-4 MWC) Jan. 9 at Alexander Gymnasium. The tip-off is set for 5 p.m.