February 11, 2012

Edgewood College still alive for postseason despite loss

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MADISON, Wis. - The Edgewood College women's basketball team hoped to catch lightning in a bottle and stun Northern Athletics Conference North Division champion Wisconsin Lutheran on Saturday. However, relentless defensive pressure from the Warriors held the Eagles in check for a 53-36 setback. Despite the loss, Edgewood College can still win their way into the NAC Tournament in their regular season finale on Wednesday at the Edgedome.

Edgewood College (9-14, 8-9 NAC) held their own on the defensive end for the first five minutes of the game. The Eagles forced four turnovers and were within two points after a three-point basket from Mariah Hill made the score 9-7. From that point, the Warriors defense took over. Wisconsin Lutheran (19-4, 16-1 NAC) held Edgewood College without a point for a little over 10 minutes, and didn't give up another field goal Jenna Coenen hit a three-point basket with 1:39 left in the half. Coenen's triple cut the lead to 28-13, and the Eagles went into halftime down 30-15.

The Eagles began to chip away at the Warrior lead with an 8-4 run to open the second half. Two free throws by Sadie Ewing and am inside bucket by Brittany Bylsma made the score 34-23 with less than 16 minutes to go, but that would be as close as the Eagles would get. Seven straight points by Wisconsin Lutheran, capped by Rachel Hoft's three-point shot put the Warriors lead out of reach in such a low scoring game.

For the first time in over a year, Edgewood College had no scorers in double figures. Hill came off the bench to lead the Eagles with eight points, while Alison Tobin and Coenen checked in with seven points apiece. Bylsma and Melanie Walker shared team-high honors in rebounds with six boards each. Edgewood College shot just 22 percent from the field for the game.

Wisconsin Lutheran College was led by the tandem of Rachel Johnson and Shavon Dillon who scored 16 points each. Johnson flirted with a triple double, grabbing eight rebounds and blocking seven Eagle shots. The Warriors shot 50 percent in the first half, but cooled and finished at 40.4 percent on the day.

In a fortunate turn of events, Marian University who shares the fourth and final playoff spot with Edgewood College, also lost, falling to Lakeland College 81-69. The Eagles hold tiebreaker advantages over both the Sabres and Maranatha Baptist who is 7-9, so the Eagles can still clinch a playoff spot with a win over the Muskies on Wednesday night. If the Eagles lose, they will need to hope Marian loses their final game and Maranatha Baptist drops one of their last two contests.
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