WolfPack women win thriller in overtime

John Hauck, Staff Writer

The women’s basketball team (7-8) found themselves in an overtime battle at home with the Joliet Junior College Lady Wolves (6-13) on Jan. 15.

The Lady Wolves came into the game 3-0 in the National Collegiate Community College Confererence while Madison College dropped their prior conference game against Rock Valley College. They entered the game 2-1 in conference play.

After the tip-off the Lady Wolves wasted no time in striking, breaking to the hoop and getting a layup less than five seconds into the game. After breaking for the first basket, turnovers on the perimeter and fast breaks led the Lady Wolves to a 21-13 advantage after 10 minutes of game time.

Second-year WolfPack post player Alicia Kopp scored 13 of her team-high 22 points in the first half, and she often took on the role of penetrating the defense. Kopp often attacked the lane from the wing and the baseline successfully. For the game she committed only a single turnover to go with her team-leading seven assists.

Pressure and trapping on the top of the key made the game tough for second-year guards Mya Flentje and Jamie Nolan, who committed four and five turnovers respectively.

The score at the half was a 35-26 Lady Wolves advantage. Though they closed the first half within nine points, the WolfPack promptly gave up a layup and a three point shot at the beginning of the second half. However, they closed the final 19 minutes nearly doubling the Lady Wolves’ scoring.

The WolfPack went on a 32-18 run that ended regulation as a tie at 58 points for both teams. While constantly coming within four or five points of the Lady Wolves during the second half, mostly on the strength of Nolan’s trio of three point shots and a trip to the line for three made free throws, it looked like they were not going to be able to complete the comeback at the 5:30 mark when the Lady Wolves gained a 58-50 advantage.

The WolfPack closed the game on an 8-0 run to force overtime, with Kopp contributing two straight layups and a pair of free throws for the first six points. Freshman post player Emily Braaksma also converted on a three-point play. She was fouled on a made shot with a minute left to tie the game.

For the first 40 minutes, Joliet shot 42 percent from the floor, while Madison College shot 30 percent. In overtime, the WolfPack managed to make four shots to the opposing team’s lone field goal and cement their comeback victory by converting free throws for a final margin of 71-63.

“(The key was) being offensively aggressive and playing on the defensive end,” said Jessica Pelzel, WolfPack coach. “We need to be a better defensive team. We know we can score.”

“I don’t really know the score of the game ever,” Nolan said. “I don’t look at the clock. I just keep playing.”

It was certainly a mentality that worked for the WolfPack, who improved to 3-1 in the N4C.