Lady Eagles upset ninth ranked Bulldogs

Emma Darby (20) has her blocked by Nicole Brown (42) during IVCC’s home win over South Suburban

Josh Dillon, IVLeader Sports Editor

The Lady Eagles used a balanced offensive attack along with some stellar defense to rout the ninth ranked South Suburban Bulldogs Saturday afternoon at Illinois Valley Community College 67-58.

Johnikka Nash led the team in scoring, putting up 30 points, including three straight baskets from behind the three-point line in the second quarter. Elizabeth Liptak added 20 points of her own, with 7 of those in the first quarter to get the team off to a hot start.

But as brilliant as the team looked at times, some questionable decisions led to turnovers and kept the game closer than it probably should have been. The Bulldogs switched to a full-court press after the halftime break and rattled the Eagles for a little bit, forcing three straight IVCC turnovers after being down 31-19 at the half.

Lady Eagles’ head coach Patrick Cinotte had this to say about the game. “We had some trouble recognizing their person in the middle after the half, but we kept high energy for 40 minutes and holding them to under 20 points in the first half shows just how good our defense is. We hope to build off of this win and carry the momentum into our next game [Tuesday]. Being able to beat the ninth team in the country at home is a big plus.”

One point of concern during the second quarter was fast-break points given up by the Eagles’ defense. The Bulldogs’ leading scorer Ashley Huddleston got behind the defense after each of those three pointers by Nash and put up easy lay-ups.

“The problem with that is that [Nash] is our fastest player, so with her taking the shot, she has the furthest ground to cover, and we couldn’t get anybody back to stop her. But if we put up three points and they get two, we’ll come out on top in the end,” said Cinotte. Huddleston finished with 19 points in the game.

The Bulldogs made it interesting, outscoring the Eagles 39-36 in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the slow start.

With three wins since the last rankings were posted, including this one over a higher ranked team, expect the Lady Eagles to take the top ranking in Region IV and move up from their current ranking at 13. Their next contest is a home game Tuesday Jan. 10th at 5:30 pm against Black Hawk College to open conference play. Their overall record is 11-4.