Titans split games, fall seventh in CCIW

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Sam Lalonde, Staff Writer

 

It was another up-and-down week that included a win and a loss and left the Illinois Wesleyan University women’s basketball team with little hope to make the conference tournament.

After defeating Millikin on Wednesday night, the Titans lost to North Central on Saturday. Last week’s results leave IWU with a 9-13 overall record and a 3-8 record in the CCIW. Unfortunately, this leaves the Titans with little to no chance of making the CCIW or NCAA tournaments.

Wednesday’s performance showed glimpses of what the team could have been, as the Titan defense was able to force an outrageous 34 turnovers and come out with an 83-76 win over the Big Blue of Millikin University. The victory helped the Titans pull within one game of their opponent in the conference standings, and gave IWU hope still to salvage a spot in the conference tournament.

Clutch free throws down the stretch by sophomore, Amanda Kelly, sealed the win for the Titans, after Millikin was able to pull within four points on two occasions late in the game.

While the Titans’ weekday win left them with hope of extending their season, Saturday’s result cast a cloud over such ideas. The Titans took on number 24 nationally ranked North Central College, and were unable to carry on Wednesday’s momentum, falling 96-81 to the Cardinals.

While the Titans were able to build a seven point lead early in the game, they were unable to keep up with North Central’s high power offense, which is the top scoring team in the nation.

“It was difficult to compete with their three point game, their offensive rebounding, and their overall style of play” sophomore post player Kaitlyn O’Boye said.

Though the final score may not suggest it, the Titans were able to stay in the game for most of regulation. North Central took the lead for good with just 9:15 remaining in the second half. Essentially, IWU was able to compete for three quarters of the game. North Central made a 12-2 run late in the game to open up the game in their favor.

Such has been the story all season. In the same way that the Millikin game showed glimpses of what the team could have been, the game against North Central showed a disappointing reality far distant from pre-season hopes.

Though the result did not go IWU’s way on Saturday, there was still something to celebrate. The Titans hosted their 8th annual “Pink Zone” game and raised money for a Community Cancer Center.

Illinois Wesleyan now sits at seventh place in the CCIW, four games out of fourth place. With just three games remaining on the schedule, it looks as though it will be impossible for the Titans to extend their season this year. Regardless, the IWU will look to finish the season strong, with games remaining against Augustana, North Park and Elmhurst.