Lakeland scores road victory
Athletics - posted on 2/14/2009
FOND DU LAC - The Lakeland women's basketball team combined a suffocating full-court defense with a solid effort from its frontcourt to earn a 60-46 road victory over Marian in a Northern Athletics Conference battle on Saturday.
The Muskies (16-7, 11-5 NAC) scored 18 points off 17 turnovers by the Sabres using primarily a full-court 1-3-1 zone, quickening the pace of the game by trapping on the wings.
Lakeland forced four Marian turnovers in the game's first four minutes, jumping out to a 10-2 lead following a steal and lay-up by freshman point guard Becca Tilleman.
"Defense is always one of our main points of emphasis," junior forward KC Blahnik said. "We are not very big, so we need to play tight on-ball defense. We rely on our defense to push the tempo and get ahead."
Blahnik (Gladstone, Mich.) combined with fellow forwards Autumn Gaylor (Ingleside, Ill.), Katie Kilton (Waukesha) and Sarah Schroeder (Sheboygan) for 35 points, shooting a combined 52 percent from the field.
Schroeder, who finished with six points, noted the amount of emphasis Lakeland coach Teri Johnson places on getting the ball inside.
"We had some height over them in the post, so Coach wanted us to get the ball inside," Schroeder said. "Once we got it, we were able to make a post move, kick it out or make a play. Coach really stresses getting post touches in our offense."
After the Sabres closed to within a point early in the second half, the Muskies posted a 20-5 run, taking a 16-point lead with 8:59 remaining.
Gaylor (13 points) and Kilton (10) were the only Muskies to reach double figures in scoring. Blahnik had nine rebounds.
Schroeder, a freshman who has played limited minutes in a reserve role this season, was able to find her touch from the outside, connecting on a trio of jumpers from 15 feet out to spark the Muskies.
"I've never felt too confident shooting from the outside, but today I did feel confident," Schroeder said. "I've been working on those shots a lot in practice, and it felt good today."
With the win, Lakeland swept the season series against Marian (6-17, 3-13) and ended a two-game losing streak. The Muskies are third in the conference's North Division, and have clinched a spot in the eight-team NAC Tournament.
"A win like this is always good for confidence," Blahnik said. "Marian had something at stake, and could have put themselves in position to get a spot in the conference tournament. We didn't want them to seize that opportunity against us."
Lakeland returns to action for its final regular season contest of the year this Wednesday at home against first-place Concordia, Wis. Tip-off at Moose & Dona Woltzen Gymnasium is set for 7 p.m.
Guard Kasey Gussert (Kingsford, Mich.), the team's lone senior, will be honored in her final regular season game at Lakeland.
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