Nothing kills momentum like taking on the state's top offensive and defensive team.
That what the Central Lakes College women's basketball team, winners of its last two games, faced in Itasca College Wednesday. The Vikings, who came in unbeaten in North Division play at 4-0, own the top offensive unit scoring 66 points a game while giving up a state-low 46 points a game.
That translated into a 76-53 loss for the Raiders, snapping a two-game winning streak.
"We preach you have to play the same way night in and night out no matter who you're up against," CLC coach Brad Amundson said. "Teams that do that will play consistently. I was happy with the girls' effort, especially in the second half and being down by a lot. They could've mailed it in but they playing hard. Itasca was just hitting their shots in the first half."
Itasca 76, Raiders 53
The key: Itasca shot 57 percent from the field to rout the Raiders and end their two-game win streak.
North Division: CLC 2-3,
Overall: CLC 5-13, IC 12-4
Next: CLC at Mesabi Range 1 p.m. Saturday.
The Vikings shot a torrid 18 of 28 in the opening half as they built a halftime lead of 47-29. The Raiders trailed 12-11 after a Heather Feldewerd jumper but a Amber Schaaf layin, followed by back-to-back threes from Tarah Geisler and Cary Zimmer, gave the Vikings a 20-11 lead.
After Kayla Gustafson's three-point play later in the half the Raiders had a chance to cut Itasca's lead to four but on their ensuing possession CLC was unable to get a shot off and turned the ball over. The Vikings followed with three quick baskets to gain a 32-20 advantage. But the real damage was done late in the half when a Geisler jumper and 3-pointer ignited an 13-1 run to close out the half and give the Vikings a 47-29 lead.
"The key in the first half was if Itasca had a crack they made their shots," said Amundson. "That was as good of shooting as we've seen this year. We got good looks at the basket and had layups but we just couldn't get them to drop."
What compounded CLC's offensive woes was the fact they missed numerous bunnies and layups. And against a team like Itasca Amundson knew his squad couldn't afford to do that.
"I think the girls are trying too hard on those shots," Amundson said. "They just have to relax when they release and follow through. They also need to go up strong with the ball. It's frustrating to miss those shots and I know the girls are frustrated."
What also hurt CLC was the fact that its leading scorer, Erin Karlsgodt, who scored the Raiders' first five points of the half, picked up two fouls in the first five minutes of the half and was a non-factor the rest of the half.
Trailing by 32 in the second half the Raiders went on a 14-2 run to cut into the Itasca lead as Megan Meyer scored eight points in the run. Meyer finished with a game-high 19 points for CLC.
Itasca College 47 29 - 76
Central Lakes 29 24 - 53
Alicia Lagarde 2, Chelsea Geisler 6, Alexa Grones 5, Tarah Geisler 13, Cary Zimmer 15, MIchelle Bessler 10, Amber Schaaf 9, Megan Zubke 16. FG 29-51 (57 percent), FT 14-21 (67 percent). Three-point baskets: 4 (T. Geisler 2, Grones, Zimmer).
Heather Feldewerd 3, Whitney Glazier 6, Jenae Swanson 6, Kayla Gustafson 4, Erin Karlsgodt 9, Megan Meyer 19, LeaAnn Karlsgodt 6. FG 18-60 (30 percent), FT 15-27 (56 percent). Three-point baskets: 2 (Gustafson, E. Karlsgodt).
Rebounds: CLC 26 (Glazier 7, Gustafson 5), IC 33 (Bessler 11). Assists: CLC 11 (Feldewerd 3, Meyer 3), IC 14 (C. Geisler 4, Zimmer 4). Turnovers: CLC 23, IC 27.
TROY GUNDERSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5865.
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