St. Norbert Women's Basketball Team NCAA Tournament Bound

Green Knights claim Midwest Conference title with 83-64 rout of Lake Forest

From Sports Information Director, March 1, 2008 | Women's Basketball
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

DE PERE - The St. Norbert College women's basketball team claimed their eighth Midwest Conference championship with a resounding 83-64 win over Lake Forest College in the title game of the MWC Tournament at Schuldes Sports Center.

The Green Knights (21-4) won their 10th-straight game and earned the league's automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division III Tournament. It is the 12th league championship for venerable coach Connie Tilley, who also won four championships in the defunct Wisconsin Independent Colleges-Women's Athletic Conference.

The game was likely the final contest for Lake Forest coach Jackie Slaats, who fashioned a 386-133 record with six MWC titles in 22 years mentoring the Foresters. Slaats announced her retirement from coaching earlier in the school year.

Early in the contest, it appeared Lake Forest (21-4) would be in control. The Foresters, ranked 21st by D3hoops.com, jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead and led 19-12 with 11:34 left in the first half. At that point, three key St. Norbert starters - Rachel Hermus, Morgan Strasser and Linsey Propson - were already in foul trouble with two fouls each.

But the rest of the half was the Denise Heuser Show. The reserve St. Norbert guard canned 20 first-half points - with 17 coming in the final 10:36 of the half. St. Norbert went on a 13-5 run to take its first lead of the game at 25-24 with 7:26 left in the first half on a Heuser 3-pointer.

The Green Knights held a 31-29 advantage with 3:47 left in the half before St. Norbert rattled off a 10-2 run to take a 41-31 lead with 57 seconds left before the break. Heuser scored the last eight points of the run before the Green Knights settled on a 41-33 halftime lead.

Lake Forest would get as close as six points early in the second half, the last at 43-37 with 18:24 left. St. Norbert would go on a 12-2 run to take a 55-39 lead with 11:27 left. The Foresters would get no closer than 11 points the rest of the way at 57-46 with 10:05 left.

Heuser finished with a game-high 22 points, making 8 of 11 shots. Propson added 16 points, Strasser 11 and Stefanie Bunday 10. The Green Knights shot a robust 50 percent from the floor, making 25 of 50 field goals. St. Norbert, who had just 14 turnovers, was also 30-for-38 at the free-throw line, cashing in on 30 Lake Forest fouls.

The Foresters had just one player scoring in double figures - Lisa Nassin's 11 bench points. Lake Forest shot 38 percent from the floor, making 19 of 50 shots, and had 23 turnovers.