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The Lakeland College women's basketball team won its sixth consecutive game on Tuesday night, defeating Northern Athletics Conference North Division rival Concordia University Wisconsin, 54-50.
The Muskies (15-6, 10-5 NAC) jumped out to a large first half lead and were able to withstand numerous runs from the Falcons to pull out the victory.
Lakeland was ready to play from the tip as the Muskies went on a 9-0 run, holding the Falcons (14-8, 13-3 NAC) scoreless for the first 4.5 minutes of the game. The Muskies built on their momentum, taking their largest lead, 35-16, with 3:48 left in the half. Lakeland would allow two free throws before halftime, taking a 16 point, 35-19 lead heading into the locker room. The 19 points are the lowest total in one half for the Falcons all season, while the 19 point deficit was also a high water mark on the year.
The Muskies built their lead by limiting the Falcons to just 28.6 percent (8-for-28) shooting, including an 0-for-5 mark from the 3-point line. Lakeland also forced eight turnovers, out-rebounded the Falcons 20-14 and the Muskies' reserves held a 19-4 advantage.
As a team, Lakeland shot 46.2 percent (12-for-26) from the field, 71.4 percent (5-for-7) from behind the arc and hit all six free throws in the half. Sophomore Aimee Thrune (Prairie du Sac, Wis.) had a team-high six points while fellow sophomore Jessica Genke (Kiel, Wis.) had a game-high five rebounds.
The roles reversed in the second half as the Falcons opened on a 7-0 run, cutting the lead to nine points, 35-26. The Muskies were held scoreless for seven minutes before senior Alyssa Schuttenhelm (Waterford, Wis.) got a layup at the 13:08 mark. Concordia Wisconsin would make it close with a 13-2 run to close the Lakeland lead to two, 45-43, with 2:22 left in the game. The game remained in the balance until senior Becca Tilleman (Green Bay, Wis.) hit two free throws with five seconds left to give the Muskies a 54-50 lead they would not relinquish.
Concordia Wisconsin shot just 35.1 percent (13-for-37) in the second half, but the Falcons held the Muskies to just 19 points on 24 percent (6-for-25) shooting. The game was won at the free throw line as Lakeland went 7-for-9 from the charity stripe in the half while the Falcons attempted just four free throws, making three.
Lakeland failed to have a double figure scorer for the first time all season as Leah Eisner (Stevens Point, Wis.), Dana Henrichs (Fall Creek, Wis.) and Genke all finished with eight points, while Genke finished with a game-high 12 rebounds.
Lakeland returns to action on Thursday, Feb. 9, as the Muskies look to extend their win streak and avenge an early season loss against Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown, Wis. Tip is 5 p.m.
To see what Becca Tilleman had to say about the team's huge victory, click here.
To see what Lakeland head coach Lindsey Vande Hoef thought about her team's toughness, click here.