The Lady Warriors defeat the Lady Lakers 72-62


Photo retrieved from Twitter @LLCAthletics

Darrius Frazier, Archivist

The Lake Land Lady Lakers fell to the visiting Wabash Valley Lady Warriors, 72-62, at the Fieldhouse on Dec. 1.  This was an early season match-up between two ranked opponents within the Great Rivers Athletic Conference (GRAC).  The Lady Lakers, the defending national champions, are currently ranked fourth in the nation at 5-1 while the Lady Warriors were ranked 14th and 7-1.

Coach Dave Johnson giving final instructions to the team prior to tip-off Wednesday night vs. Wabash Valle College.

(Darrius Frazier) 

The Lady Warriors jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead. The Lady Lakers’ first points of the game came courtesy of a 3-pointer from Josyln Spears off an assist by Olivia Niemerg, which cut the Lady Warriors lead to 10-3 with 5:32 remaining in the first period. At the end of the first period the Lady Warriors had the lead, 21-11.  

In the second period, the Lady Lakers demonstrated their trademark defense, which earned them the national championship earlier this spring. The Lady Lakers outscored the Lady Warriors, 14-5 in the frame. The Lady Warriors were held without a point in the period, and during this dry spell, the Lady Warriors missed 16 consecutive shots.

The Lady Lakers had their biggest lead of the game with 1:52 remaining before halftime when Taylor Barry split a pair of free throws, this gave them a 25-21 lead. The Lady Warriors, with 1:33 remaining in the quarter, cut the lead to one, 25-24, when forward, Alexis Ratcliff, completed a 3-point play. That 3-point play was the Lady Warriors’ first points in the second period. Moments later, Shaulana Wagner made two free throws after being fouled on a shooting attempt, giving the Lady Warriors a 26-25 lead at intermission.

After being held back offensively in the second period, the Lady Warriors outscored the Lady Lakers, 29-17, in the third period. The offensive explosion gave the Lady Warriors a 55-42 lead heading into the fourth period. 

During most of the third period, the game was back and forth.  However, the Lady Warriors went on an 11-2 run in the final 2:34 of the period. The Lady Lakers last lead of the game was 29-28 with 8:58 remaining in the period when Lexi Niebrugge scored off an inbound pass from Taylor Orris.  Moments later, the Lady Warriors took the lead for good at 30-29 when Kiarah Carney hit a teardrop shot down the lane.  

In the fourth period, the Lady Warriors extended their lead to the largest of the game at 70-54 with 4:45 remaining when Wagner stole an inbound pass from Lady Laker forward, Avery Still. Wagner then dished it off to her teammate, Kalea Fleming, who was streaking down the lane for an easy basket.  Afterwards, the Lady Lakers came back to make the final score, but still fell, 72-62. 

With the victory, the Lady Warriors have extended their winning streak to seven games and are now 2-0 in the GRAC. With the loss, the Lady Lakers had their four game winning streak snapped and fell to 5-2 on the season with a 1-1 record in the GRAC.  

Wagner led the Lady Warriors with 22 points along with 13 rebounds, six assists and two steals. Wabash Valley entered the game shooting just 54 percent from the free throw line and finished 13-of-25, including 10-of-16 in the second half. 

The Lady Lakers were outrebounded by a 52-40 margin and turned the ball over twelve times.  The Lady Lakers who entered the game averaged 11 three-pointers made in the game and made only four out of 24 attempts. Players Barry, Niemerg, Ali Watson,  Nierbrugge and Spears all finished in double-digits with 14, 13, 12, 12 and 10 points respectively.

Lady Laker coach, David Johnson, in his 24th season as head coach on campus, led the team to numerous winning seasons, top 25 rankings, and average of 21 wins per season. When the women’s basketball team won the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) championship this spring, it was the first time ever that an athletic team from campus won a national championship.

In the aftermath of Wednesday’s game, Coach Johnson emphasized that the team “needed to play better transition defense as well as better positioning and rebounding.”

Coach Johnson also noted “We needed to be better offensively, moving the ball quicker as well as being ready to shoot, especially from the three-point line.  Right now with new players, we are learning to adjust to each other. Hopefully, we can work on our weaknesses during practices in preparation of our upcoming games.”

The Lady Lakers’ next home game at the Laker Fieldhouse will be Wednesday, December 15th against the John A. Logan College Lady Volunteers.

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