North Central Women Stun Millikin on Senior Day

More news about: North Central (Ill.)

The North Central College women's basketball team sent its two seniors out in style Saturday at Gregory Arena, wearing a path to the free-throw line and taking down Millikin University, 76-65, on the regular season's final day.

The Cardinals made 30 of 37 free throws, including a 23-for-30 effort in the second half alone, owning a comfortable lead for most of the final 20 minutes. North Central also got significant contributions from its two seniors, as Emily Collins put up 14 points and Helen Muleya finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

The contest saw four ties and four lead changes in the first seven minutes. Muleya sank two charity tosses to give the Cardinals a two-point lead, though Beth Wellbaum and Cecily Aldridge knocked down consecutive three-pointers to nudge Millikin back in front, 20-16. The Big Blue extended their lead to its largest a 26-19 with 6:44 left in the first half before a jumper by Collins ignited a 7-0 rally that tied the score at 26-26 with 3:15 on the clock.

The Cardinals ;pulled in front, 30-28, after Larynn Shumaker's inside bucket with 1:11 left, but Millikin's Bria Williams converted a layup with 55 seconds left to tie the game yet again. Shumaker scored again on North Central's final possession of the period, scoring in the lane on a pass by Muleya to send the Cardinals into halftime with a 32-30 edge.

Callie Rezin and Jenny Swanson opened the second half with back-to-back three-pointers to extend North Central's advantage, which reached double figures for the first time on Emily Murphy's fast-break basket which left the score at 45-34 with 15:05 left. The Cardinals led by as many as 15 points before three-pointers by Aldridge and Julia Robert helped Millikin slash the deficit to 53-46.

North Central's lead never dipped below seven points the rest of the way, as the Cardinals made 9 of 10 free throws in the final two minutes to thwart Millikin's strategy of fouling to extend the game.

Rezin led North Central (7-18, 1-13 College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin) with 16 points. The Big Blue (15-10, 7-7 CCIW) were paced by aldridge's 21 points and Crystal Zeigler's 11 points and 11 rebounds.