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Green Knights Get First MWC Win In Dispatching Illinois College

From Asst. AD/Athletics Communications, January 8, 2020 | Women's Basketball
by Dan Lukes,, (920) 403-4077

DE PERE - St. Norbert College picked up its first Midwest Conference win of the season with a solid 77-61 win over Illinois College on Connie Tilley Court at Mulva Family Fitness & Sports Center.

The Green Knights led 36-33 at halftime before outscoring the Lady Blues 18-10 to take control in the third quarter. St. Norbert then canned 16 of 20 free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter to salt away the win.

St. Norbert took a 14-9 lead with 2:14 left in the first quarter on a Natalie Cerrato 3-pointer before settling on a 14-13 lead after 10 minutes of action. The Green Knights led 18-13 early in the second quarter after a Hannah Gibbons basket before Illinois College went on an 8-2 run to take a 21-20 lead at the 6:40 mark. St. Norbert trailed 30-29 with 3:01 left in the half before going on a 7-3 run to close out the period. Jessica Boerner had a basket, Ali Hoeft drained a 3-pointer and Macie Zurfluh swished a pair of free throws for a 36-33 halftime lead.

The game was knotted at 42-42 with 4:23 left in the third quarter before the Green Knights surged to an 11-0 run to close out the quarter. Hannah Ciesielczyk started the run with a basket, followed by a hoop from Kaycee Gierczak. After Illinois College's Krista Bass split a pair of free throws, Gierczak and Boerner scored on consecutive possessions for a 50-43 lead with 2:17 left. Gierczak then scored St. Norbert's final two baskets of the quarter for a 54-43 lead after three periods.

St. Norbert led 58-43 with 8:38 remaining, but the Lady Blues made one final push to get to within 60-53 with 6:05 to go. The Green Knights never let their lead fall below seven points, the last time at 64-57 with 4:00 to go. St. Norbert did not make a field goal in the final 5:50 of play, but converted on 15 of 18 free-throw attempts down the stretch to hold off Illinois College.

Zurfluh led St. Norbert with 27 points and eight steals, and went 16-for-20 at the free-throw line. Zurfluh's 16 made free throws were one short of the St. Norbert record of 17, set by Krista Pelky on Nov. 19, 2011. Gierczak added 15 points for the Green Knights, who were 25-for-61 (41 percent) from the floor.

Illinois College was harried into 31 turnovers, offsetting a 22-for-51 (43.1 percent) performance from the field. Grace Yanches led the Lady Blues with 23 points, while Bass added 13 counters.

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