Women’s Basketball picks up another “W”: BenU defeats Rockford, clinch spot in NAC tourney

by Tom Brown

Megan Novak runs the fastbreak during a game against Aurora. Photo by Paige McLaughlin.

The BenU Women’s Basketball team defeated Rockford College 69-51 in Northern Athletics Conference action on Saturday afternoon at the Dan and Ada Rice Center.

With the win, the Eagles guaranteed themselves a spot in the NAC post-season tournament.

The Eagles got out to a big lead from the start, as they went up 15-2 to start the first half and took a 38-26 lead into halftime.

After halftime, it was much of the same, as the BenU went up by as many as 23 points. They used their stifling defense to force 23 turnovers.

“We really played well defensively,” explained junior Jillian Lipman.  “We were able to get in their face and pressure them into turning the ball over, which led to easy baskets for us and less possessions for them.”

Leading the way for the Eagles were senior Tracey Walsh and freshman Katie Hunzinger, who scored 16 points apiece. Freshman Megan Novak had a strong all-around game for BenU at the point guard position,  as she scored 12 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and dished out 3 assists.

Some of the Eagles believe that their play in practice throughout the week aided them in Saturday’s contest.

“During the week, we had intense practices so we could take that into the game on Saturday,” Lipman explained. “We knew that we had to prepare for Rockford.  They have a really good player who can take over the game. We knew if we played team defense, we could shut her down and ruin their offensive rhythm.”

It was Senior Night for the Eagles, as seniors Tracey Walsh and Breanne Armadio, who both have played four seasons with Benedictine, were honored before the game. The game was also a part of the university’s “Think Pink” night, as the Eagles wore pink warm-up shirts and fans were given pink shirts and bracelets.

The women are back in action this Wednesday, Feb. 15 as they head to Dominican University for a 7 p.m. contest.

“As of right now, we are playing at our peak, which is exactly where we want to be heading into the end of the season,” Lipman said.