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The Lakeland College women's basketball team exacted some revenge with a 60-54 victory over Northern Athletics Conference North Division foe Maranatha Baptist Bible College on Thursday night.
With the win, the Muskies (16-6, 11-5 NAC) extend their win streak to a season-high seven games. The Muskies also clinched a spot in the NAC tournament, returning after a one-year hiatus.
It wasn't all smooth sailing for Lakeland as they were once again plagued by a slow start, trailing by eight points, 20-12, six minutes into the game. The Muskies chipped away at the deficit and a Becky Mayo (Gladstone, Mich.) layup with 28 seconds left in the half tied the game at 26, the halftime score. The key to the Crusaders first half dominance was on the glass where they held a plus eight rebounding margin, 25-17. They were also able to force 12 Lakeland turnovers, which Maranatha Baptist converted into eight points.
The Muskies shot 35.5 percent (11-for-31) from the floor, 20 percent (1-for-5) from the 3-point line and just 50 percent (3-for-6) from the charity stripe. Mayo had a game-high eight points and eight rebounds in the half, keeping the Muskies in the game.
The defense held the Crusaders to just 34.5 percent (10-for-29) from the floor and didn't allow a 3-point basket in six attempts. Their solid play down the stretch kept Maranatha Baptist from stretching their lead.
The Muskies carried their late first-half success into the second, tying the game twice before taking the lead for good on another Mayo layup. Lakeland would lead by as many as 10 points on three separate occasions. While the Crusaders would finish the game on a 4-0 run, they weren't able to complete the comeback as time ran out.
The Muskies bench led the way in the second half, outscoring Maranatha Baptist's reserves 19-2 in the period. Lakeland used a 40 percent (14-for-35) shooting performance, including three 3-point baskets to seal the victory. The defense also stepped up, holding Maranatha to just 30 percent (12-for-40) shooting in the second half, again holding them scoreless from behind the arc.
Sophomore Leah Eisner (Stevens Point, Wis.) led Lakeland with eight second half points, while senior Alyssa Schuttenhelm (Waterford, Wis.) added six points. The perimeter defense was the key to the game, as Lakeland was 4-for-15 from deep, while the Crusaders went 0-for-15.
Mayo finished with a team-high 12 points and nine rebounds, while reserves Schuttenhelm and Eisner finished with 11 and eight points respectively. Sophomore Dana Henrichs (Fall Creek, Wis.) added nine points and five rebounds.
Senior Becca Tilleman (Green Bay, Wis.) recorded her 201st steal in tonight's contest, placing her second all-time behind 2002 graduate Jill Dewane (252).
Lakeland will look to improve its spot in the NAC tournament on Saturday, Feb. 11, as the Muskies host NAC North Division rival Marian University. Lakeland will also be hosting a "Pink Out" in support of breast cancer awareness, as well as honoring its seniors on senior day.