By JOHN BOHNENKAMP
MACOMB, Ill. — It was a win the Western Illinois University women’s basketball team needed.
But coach JD Gravina knows his team is still searching for answers after an 86-54 win over Eureka College on Saturday afternoon at Western Hall.
The Leathernecks (2-5) weren’t threatened — they led 43-29 at halftime and then kept that margin growing in the second half.
But Western Illinois made just 36.7 percent of its shots, only 18.8 percent of its 3-point attempts.
“What we need is, like, a game where we’re shooting it well and passing really well and attacking the basket and scoring easily,” Gravina said. “I would have liked for us to have done a better job with that tonight.”
Still, it was a chance to get everybody playing time, and Gravina did that. He used all 11 players in uniform, and playing time ranged from 13 to 21 minutes.
“It was fun playing with different people tonight, seeing different people play with different people,” said forward Zareia Chevre, who had 11 points for her third consecutive double-digit scoring game. “It was a great environment tonight.”
“It was important because I’ve been working hard in practice,” said freshman guard Lily Randgaard, who led the Leathernecks with 12 points, playing a season-high 19 minutes. “And it was just fun to be out there with my teammates.”
Gravina said it was important to get everyone work as the Summit League schedule draws closer.
“That’s definitely part of it — not only getting everyone in but for like good quality minutes so they can get in the flow a little bit,” Gravina said. “I think that’s especially important for our freshmen, which I thought got some great minutes and I was happy with them.”
“Mostly it was just trying to practice our offense, trying to get good shots, building more chemistry and really starting a winning streak tonight,” Chevre said.
“Coming off a couple of losses, we were just trying to get our footing back and play hard and just prove that we still can have a good season,” Randgaard said.
The Leathernecks committed just 10 turnovers against Eureka (2-5), an NCAA Division III team. They forced 26.
Western Illinois has four nonconference games remaining before the December 19 conference opener at North Dakota State.
“You hope to build a little confidence,” Gravina said. “I’m not sure whether we did that or not. We got everyone and opportunity, got a ‘W,’ and hopefully we can build that into something.”
Photo: Western Illinois forward Zareia Chèvre scored 11 points in Saturday’s win over Eureka College. (WIU Athletic Communications)