Lady Eagles fall in rankings, but build momentum for February

Lady Eagles fall in rankings, but build momentum for February

Arnisha Thomas (20) drives past Sinclair Cunningham (15) against Kishwaukee College on Jan. 10 in Oglesby. Thomas won the NJCAA Division II player of the week for Jan. 14-20

Josh Dillon, IV Leader Sports Editor

Consecutive losses to Kishwaukee College and South Suburban College have dropped the Lady Eagles from tenth to 17th in the national polls on IVCC’s women’s basketball team does currently have a 15-5 record as the team heads into the second half of the season.

IVCC started the month on the road, beating Elgin Community College 68-67 on Jan. 10. Arnisha Thomas led the team with 23 points and 12 rebounds and Asya Williams added 13 points off the bench. Four out of five Elgin starters had double-digit points in the game, with Megan Fasanella leading the way with 18. IVCC converted 10 of 19 free throw attempts, capitalizing heavily on Elgin committing personal fouls.

Kishwaukee came to Oglesby on Jan. 10 and beat IVCC handily 72-40. Thomas had 12 points, Williams added 8, and Joselynn Castelli had 6 for the Lady Eagles. The Lady Cougars were playing aggressive defense, stealing the ball 12 times and blocking eight shots. The Lady Eagles were also beat up on the boards, being out-rebounded 39 to 33.

After getting crushed by Kishwaukee, IVCC hit the road to regroup at South Suburban College on Jan. 12. The Lady Eagles fought hard in a loss to the Lady Bulldogs 72-67. Thomas led the way with 21 points, Sydonia Daniels had 19, and Cathryn Rhodes added 10 off the bench. Kara Kistenfeger had nine assists in the loss. For the Lady Bulldogs, Ashley Huddleston had 19 points, Megan Majors had 15, and Shaquala Armstrong had 13.

The Lady Eagles returned home to host Highland Community College on Jan. 15 and held on to win 74-73, despite Iesha Barkley’s 31 points for Highland. Thomas had 28 points for the Lady Eagles, and Daniels added 21 in the win. Highland relied heavily on the three-ball, making 11 of 30 attempts in an attempt to stop Thomas’s inside game, but Daniels’s seven blocks stood out defensively to shift the game.

IVCC carried the momentum from this game to Dixon to play Sauk Valley Community College on Jan. 17. The Lady Eagles dominated the Skyhawks 47-28 in the first half and cruised on to a big win 80-64. Thomas had a stellar night, putting up 35 points, 16 rebounds, and five steals. Kistenfeger had 16 points, 12 assists, and 5 steals in the win as well. For the Skyhawks, Lydia Box had 28 points and Sheldeen Joseph added 17. Joseph was also harassed defensively as the Lady Eagles forced her to turn the ball over 10 times in the game.

The wave continued as IVCC travelled to Black Hawk East on Jan. 22 and destroyed the Braves 80-50. Thomas had 26 points and 16 rebounds, Asya Williams had 15 points, and Brytney Bennett added 13 in the win. The game was highlighted by stellar play on the boards, as IVCC grabbed 44 rebounds, with 17 of them on offense to keep possession of the ball.

A rematch against Kishwaukee College on their court lies in wait for IVCC on Feb. 2. The team will then travel to Highland on Feb. 5, hold a three-game homestand against Sauk Valley on Feb. 7, Black Hawk East on Feb. 12, and Carl Sandburg on Feb. 14 before hitting the road against Black Hawk (Moline), and ending the regular season at home against Olive Harvey on Feb. 23.