WolfPack women fall to Elgin, end season

Joseph Craker, Sports Editor

Although WolfPack women’s basketball closed out their regular season on a positive note with back to back wins, they were unable to overcome their semifinal opponents in the postseason for the third consecutive year, and finished the season with a 20-8 record.

The attitude was a hopeful one prior to tip-off against Elgin Community College on Feb. 23.  After all, the No. 2 ’Pack outseeded the No. 3 Spartans heading into the NJCAA Region IV Division III Tournament, and had won the previous meeting between the two teams, 66-59, during the non-conference portion of their schedule.  The ‘Pack also held a 5-1 record all-time against the Spartans.

The positive vibes continued through the first quarter during which Madison College outscored Elgin 17-12, however the Spartans brought it back to within 1 at the end of the first half after a late scoring run, and kept the momentum going into the second half.  The ‘Pack fell behind coming out of the locker rooms, and would never reestablish their dominance.  They lost the last three quarters of play and inevitably the game, 54-67.

Early season turnover issues seemed to reemerge for Madison College during the semifinal clash.  The turnover margin was 12 in favor of the Spartans, who were able to take advantage by turning them into an 18 point margin in points from turnovers.

Usually kingmaker through her ability to set up plays, it was sophomore Shaquita Lee who was top scorer on the night with 25 points.  She also led the team in rebounds with 9, assists with 5, and steals with 3.  Elgin was able to keep freshman guard Aniah Williams relatively quiet on the night, especially from beyond the arc, and she finished her season with 13 points, well below her season average.

Regardless of the late season struggle, the duo of Lee and Willams was deemed worthy of North Central Community College Conference and NJCAA Region IV recognition.  Williams was selected first team all-conference and all-region, and also received All-American votes for the region.   She closed the season with a 22.1 point average, and was best known for her abilities beyond the arc.  The team will no doubt benefit from her skills next season.

Lee was also named all-region and second team all-conference after a short spell with the ‘Pack.  The mid-season transfer averaged 23 points, 9.4 rebounds, 4.3 steals, and 5.4 assists, all best-in-team stats.  Who knows what could have been achieved if Lee was on the team for the entirety of the season.

Albeit a streaky season, it should still be considered a successful one.  The inexperienced team only had three sophomores on the roster, but the ‘Pack was certainly able to hold their own in the top-heavy N4C conference.  Furthermore, Madison College made Redsten Gym a fortress, only losing twice at home all season.  Fans should be hopeful for next season, as the future is bright for WolfPack women’s basketball.