The Lewis University women's basketball team is now atop the Great Lakes Valley Conference East Division after their 79-61 victory over Kentucky Wesleyan on Thursday (Jan. 24) at Neil Carey Arena.
Lewis is tied for first-place the GLVC East Division with Kentucky Wesleyan and No. 15 Indianapolis.
The Flyers, extending their home winning streak to five games, improve to 13-3 on the season and 6-2 in GLVC action. The Panthers fall to 10-5 on the year and 6-2 in conference play.
“We played really well against a good Kentucky Wesleyan team,” Lewis head women's basketball coach Lisa Carlsen said. “The thing that sticks out the most was our ability to rebound the ball, especially in the second half to finish with 17 offensive rebounds.”
The Flyers opened the game on a 8-2 run with a jumper by sophomore Kristin Itschner (Metamora, Ill./Peoria Notre Dame) and two three-pointers from senior Labrenthia Murdock (Round Lake, Ill./Round Lake).
Itschner would post 11 of her 13 points in the first half on 5-of-7 shooting from the field, including one three-pointer. Murdock added 13 points in the contest with six rebounds and three assists.
Lewis used their up-tempo pace to build a 10-point lead, up 20-10 by the 10-minute media time out. The Flyers got a basket and two free throws from Jess Reinhart (Normal, Ill./Bloomington Central Catholic), as well a three-pointer each from Itschner and Nikki Nellen (New Berlin, Wis./ Piux IX) during the run.
Lewis held Kentucky Wesleyan scoreless for over three minutes as they extended their lead to 15, up 26-11 at the 6:29 mark in the half. The Panthers were able cut their deficit to 10 points at 5:33 but the Flyers were able to regain a 14-point lead to head into the locker room up 36-22 at the half.
The Flyers carried their momentum into the second half, pushing their lead to 20 points, to go up 42-22 off of two layups by senior Sam Rinehart (Marion, Iowa/Marion) and a layup from Reinhart.
Reinhart scored 13 of her team-leading 19 points in the second half and pulled down nine rebounds in the contest.
The Panthers got within eight points at 52-44 at 10:42. After a three-point play by Rinehart, the Flyers' lead was back to double-digits at 55-44. Rinehart scored 10 of her 11 points in the second half, going 4-for-4 from the floor and 3-of-4 from the free throw line.
The Flyers were able to keep the Panthers at bay with the help of 11 offensive rebounds and making 11-of-12 free throws in the second period.
Lauren Goffinet led the Panthers with 12 points and three steals while Kailyn Mitchell added nine points and nine rebounds. The Flyers are back in action at Neil Carey Arena on Saturday (Jan. 26) when they host No. 23 Southern Indiana at 1 PM.
Lewis University is a Catholic university offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 6,500 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The seventh largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.
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