ICC Athletic News
ICC Women Handle RMU Springfield
A strong first half propelled the #3 Illinois Central College women’s basketball team to an 81-55 victory on Wednesday night (Feb. 26) at Ramsey Gym. The Cougars shot 59% (24-41) from the field in the first half to open a 57-26 lead and most impressively, dished out 15 assists in the opening stanza to give them the breathing room they needed to polish off the Eagles on the night.
Both teams came out firing from the get-go, with ICC scoring on their first four possessions, countered by two RMU three-pointers to give ICC an 8-6 lead in the first two minutes. The two teams traded baskets until Shay Robinson and Tiffany Masters connected for five points to put the Cougars up 21-14 with 13:31 to play, and then Chanta Wright scored six points in a row along with a Helena Rodriguez jumper to make the score 29-18 with 10:08 showing on the clock. ICC then clamped down on the defensive end and really got going offensively, going on a 28-8 run to close the half. A variety of Cougars chipped in, as April Gebke swished a three-pointer, Wright had ten points on her own, Rodriguez and Michaela Kumer each added four points, and Shay Robinson finished off the last possession of the half with a three-pointer to give the Cougars their commanding advantage at halftime.
Whatever strategy RMU discussed in the locker room at halftime worked, as they started the second half on a 16-8 run to cut the deficit to 65-42 with 13:14 to play. The Cougars continued to sputter offensively, only managing eight points in the next ten minutes on a three-pointer by Tiffany Masters, a basket by Wright and three points from Shaakera Jones, as ICC held a 73-52 edge with 3:43 remaining, and luckily the margin was big enough that the Cougars were never really threatened til the horn sounded. As good as the Cougars were in the first half, they were on the short end of the stick in the second half, only managing to shoot 5-24 from the field in the second half (21%) and were outscored by the Eagles 29-24 in the second half.
Wright paced the ICC attack with 23 points (21 in the first half), 5 boards, and 3 assists. Rodriguez netted 15 points and dished out 5 assists, while Gebke had 9 points and 4 rebounds. Masters and Kumer each added 6 points apiece, and Jazmine Stubblefield, Jones, Robinson, and Gabby Williams each had 5 points. Abi Besso rounded out the scoring with 2 points. Stubblefield also had 3 assists and Kumer led in rebounds with 6. The Cougars did dish out 19 assists on the evening and were 18-22 from the free throw line, good for 82%.
ICC finishes the regular season with a 26-3 overall record and will now take the weekend off before readying for Region 24 tournament play next week. The Cougars have the #1 seed in the eight-team tournament and will play the #8 seed (either Lewis & Clark or Lincoln College—to be determined this Saturday) in quarterfinal action on Wednesday, March 5 at 6:00 pm at Ramsey Gym. The winner of that game will advance to the semi-final round on Saturday, March 8 at Lake Land College in Mattoon. The championship game of the Region 24 Tourney will be played on Sunday, March 9 (also at Lake Land College), with the winner of the tourney advancing to the National Tournament on March 18-22 in Kansas City, Kansas.
One final note: The Cougars recognized their six sophomores before the game: Tiffany Masters, Helena Rodriguez, Naomi Harris, Chanta Wright, Abi Besso, and ShaVonn Watkins. Thank you, ladies, for your continued hard work. We are looking forward to seeing you in action at the National Tournament.