Luke Rinne, Director of Athletic Communications
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Lewis University’s women’s basketball team grinded its way to a 78-73 victory at Illinois Springfield on Tuesday evening for its fourth straight win overall and third straight on the road. The Flyers improve to 7-3 overall and in GLVC play while the Prairie Stars drop to 3-3 overall and in the conference.
Lewis got off to a fast start knocking down five of its first seven shots to grab an early 11-4 lead but an 11-0 run from UIS gave the Stars a 15-11 lead with less than two minutes to play in the quarter. The Flyers got four straight points from Taylor Gugliuzza (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way West) to even the score at 15 but five straight points gave UIS its largest lead of the contest at 20-15 with less than 30 seconds left in the stanza. Gugliuzza hit a jumper just before the buzzer to cut the lead to 20-17.
Lewis opened the second frame on a 13-5 run to regain its lead by the midway point of the quarter. The Prairie Stars cut the lead to 34-33 on a jumper from Olivia Travis in the final minute of the half to send the Flyers into the locker room with a one-point lead at the intermission.
UIS scored the first bucket of the third quarter to regain the lead at 35-34 but seven straight points gave Lewis the lead back and it wouldn’t relinquish it. The Flyers extended their lead to as many as eight in the quarter but took a 52-46 lead into the final 10 minutes.
Neither side shot the ball extremely well in the frame as Lewis shot 33.3 percent while the Prairie Stars were held to 31.3 percent shooting. The difference in the quarter was the Flyers knocked down all seven of its free throw attempts while UIS was just 2-of-4.
Lewis extended its lead to its largest of the contest at 63-54 on a three-pointer from Kathryn Schmidt (Hampshire, Ill./Burlington Central) with 6:04 left in the contest but the Prairie Stars wouldn’t go away cutting the Flyer lead to 76-73 with 0:15 left after a jumper from Grace Weber.
Lewis sealed the game at the free throw line as Jenna Badali (Oak Lawn, Ill./Mother McAuley) knocked down two free throws in the closing seconds.
The Flyers did their damage at the foul line in the final quarter scoring 17 of their 26 points at the free throw line.
Lewis finished the game shooting 44.2 percent (23-for-52) from the field, was just 5-of-17 from three but made a season-high 27 free throws in the contest. Gugliuzza finished with a career-high 21 points to lead all scorers and was joined in double figures by Badali and Schmidt with 17 points apiece.
UIS shot 43.9 percent (29-for-66) from the field, was 3-of-18 from beyond the arc and shot 60 percent at the charity stripe. It outrebounded the Flyers 41-31 and outscored them 27-12 in points off turnovers. Makenna Fee led the Stars with 16 points and was joined in double figures by Lauren Ladowski and Ellie Mitchell with 14 points each.
The two teams will meet again this Thursday (Jan. 14) in a 3 p.m. tip-off at Neil Carey Arena.