Second-half surge sends Wisconsin Lutheran into NAC semifinals
MILWAUKEE - The Wisconsin Lutheran College women's basketball team used a big second half to defeat the eighth-seeded Benedictine Eagles 74-56 in a Northern Athletics Conference Tournament quarterfinal game on Wednesday night at the Recreation Complex.
The Warriors and Eagles exchanged leads in the opening minutes before WLC went on a 7-0 run to take an 11-6 lead with 14:34 left in the opening half. Benedictine came to within 11-10 before the Warriors took their largest lead of the half. Krissy Day (West Allis, Wis./Wisconsin Lutheran) and Shavon Dillon (Milwaukee, Wis./Hope School) each hit three-pointers sandwiched in between a layup by Melanie Laete (Spokane, Wash./Evergreen Lutheran) to take a 19-12 advantage midway through the first 20 minutes. The Eagles came back and took the lead at 32-31 with 3:00 left in the first half. WLC regained the lead and took a one-point lead into halftime, 39-38.
Wisconsin Lutheran shot 46.9 percent (15-for-32) from the field, while Benedictine shot 54.2 percent (13-for-24) in the half. The Eagles also out-rebounded the Warriors 19-12 in the first half. Day and Dillon led WLC with nine points each in the opening half. The Eagles were led by Tracey Walsh's 14 points.
Benedictine tied the contest at 40-40 at the 18:01 mark of the second half, but never regained the lead in the half. Leading 50-44 with 13:21 remaining, the Warriors went on a 16-2 run to take a 66-46 advantage at the 7:45 mark. Wisconsin Lutheran later led by a game-high 21 points with 2:11 left in the game.
The Warriors shot 50 percent (15-for-30) from the floor in the second half, while the Eagles shot a much cooler 23.1 percent (6-for-26). WLC out-scored BenU 20-6 in points in the paint and 17-4 in bench points in the second half. Dillon scored 10 of her game-high 19 points in the period to lead the Warriors. Michelle Gaede had seven second-half points for the Eagles.
Joining Dillon in double figures were Rachel Johnson (Milwaukee, Wis./Wisconsin Lutheran) and Day with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Kristen Schulz (Safford, Ariz./Arizona Lutheran) grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds. The Warriors shot 48.4 percent (30-for-62) from the floor for the game and out-rebounded the Eagles, 36-32.
Michelle Gaede and Tracey Walsh scored 18 and 17 points, respectively, to pace Benedictine (10-16). The Eagles concluded the game shooting 38 percent (19-for-50) from the floor.
Wisconsin Lutheran (22-4) will host fifth-seeded Concordia Wisconsin (16-10) on Friday at 7 p.m. in a NAC Tournament semifinal game. The Falcons defeated fourth-seeded Lakeland 56-44 on Wednesday in a quarterfinal matchup. The third meeting of the season between WLC and CUW tips-off at 7 p.m. at the Recreation Complex. Fans unable to attend the game can follow the action via live audio, stats and video at wlcsports.com.