Women’s basketball splits victories with Millikin and North Park

Emily Thompson, Sports Editor

The Illinois Wesleyan women’s basketball team has taken on Millikin University and North Park this week, resulting in one loss and one victory. The Titans fell to the Big Blue on Monday, February 7 in a 67-56 non-conference defeat. But, IWU recovered against the Vikings on Wednesday, February 9 with a massive 81-60 victory. 


The win on Wednesday helped the Titans maintain a perfect College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin score of 7-0 for the Titans and put them in the No. 1 spot in the conference.


The first half of Monday’s game started slow for the Titans as they fell behind by four only four minutes into the quarter. Two free throws by senior Brooke Lansford brought the Titans back within two, followed by one from junior Katelyn Heller. 


Heller went on to assist freshman Mallory Powers with a layup to close the point gap to one. But, a three-pointer from the Big Blue allowed them to pull away again with only two minutes left in the first quarter. 


Lansford produced one more point with a jumper before the end of the first quarter, but Millikin took over again in the second. Two minutes into the second quarter, the Big Blue was already up 20-8. 


Despite points by Lansford, Heller and hard defense by junior Kelly Carlson and senior Lauren Huber, Millikin maintained a double-digit lead until halftime. 


The second half proved to be much of the same for the Titans. Senior Kaia Bowens sank a layup moments into the third quarter, but the Big Blue continued to widen the point gap. By the end of the quarter, MU was up 51-31. 


For a moment in the fourth quarter it seemed like the Titans could make a miraculous recovery. A layup by Huber, a jump shot and three-pointer by Lansford and another three by Powers brought the Titans within 12 with six minutes to spare.


With a minute left in the game, freshman Kate Palmer pulled out a three-pointer to push the Titans into a single-digit deficit. Lansford provided the final point of the game with a successful jumper with seconds to spare, but the Big Blue had already pulled too far ahead. 


The game closed out with a 67-56 loss for the Titans. 


Even so, the Titans redeemed themselves at the Wednesday night conference game against North Park. Where IWU fell behind on Monday they recovered, resulting in a 81-60 victory.


The first two minutes of the game proved fruitless for both teams before Powers opened the scoring with a successful two-point layup.


Bowen and Huber followed up with driving layups to bring the Titans up 6-2 with seven minutes left in the first quarter. Senior Catie Eck contributed a three-pointer minutes later before she forced a turnover for the Titans. 


The Titans and the Vikings traded off points for much of the second half, always staying within double-digits of one another. A three-pointer by Lansford proved to be a turning point for the Titans, as they pulled ahead 31-24 shortly before halftime. 


IWU continued to dominate the third and fourth quarters, including six collective three-pointers from Lansford, Eck and Palmer. North Park managed to steal the last point of the game with a layup, but the point was futile. The Titans left with an 80-61 victory and their seventh consecutive 


The Illinois Wesleyan women’s basketball team will return to the court Saturday, February 12 for a celebratory Senior Day matchup with Wheaton. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:00 P.M. in Shirk Center.