By: NEIL KING
The IU South Bend women’s basketball team won 88-85 on Saturday, which was senior night, in a game that included 21 lead changes.
Before the game Head Coach Steve Bruce met the seniors of the team at center court with bouquets of flowers and framed photos to honor their time as Titans.
“We have four outstanding seniors who have contributed deeply to our program during their time here,” Bruce said. “Elyse, Emily, Lauren and Staci have represented our program with excellence, both in the classroom and on the court. Most of all, they are young ladies who will make the world a better place as they move onto the next stage in their lives.”
Purdue Calumet University (PUC) became the second ranked team in four games that the lady Titans took down. The Titans have won three of their last four and are 16-9. There are just four games left to play during the regular season.
Six-footers Maegan Callaway, a junior, and Strilich scored in the paint early and often to combine for 48 of the team’s points. The IUSB team collectively scored 38 points in the paint and got a helping hand from their bench who donated 16 points. Callaway also grabbed a team high 11 rebounds to finish with an impressive double-double.
The lady Titans kept the score close throughout the game never letting PUC get ahead by more than eight points. They also never lead by more than 5 points.
PUC came out shooting hot as they struck on over 50 percent of their 3-point attempts in the first half. IUSB seemed to have trouble guarding PUC’s screen and shoot scheme in the first 20 minutes, but came back after half time giving the visitors little room for open shots.
IUSB held PUC to shooting just 20 percent from behind the arc in the second half and hit a fiery 63 percent to take the game back. There were also a couple big three-point plays, thanks to some timely fouls by the PUC team and strong finishes by the Titans, in the waning minutes of the game. Notably Strilich was sent to the line for a free throw after being fouled on a made shot in the paint, and put the team up for the final time with less that a minute and half left in the game.
Nichole Sly hit 3-4 shots from the foul line in the final seconds to keep the Titans ahead as PUC tried to mount a comeback.
After Sly’s last shot PUC had one second on the clock to hurl up a 3 point shot to try and send the game to overtime, but with the whole length of the court to go never really had much of a chance.