ST. THOMAS 71, WIU 57: Leathernecks Lose Their Momentum From Road Sweep


MACOMB, Ill. — February is about building momentum for the postseason, and Western Illinois’ women’s basketball team had that momentum until Saturday.

The Leathernecks, coming off back-to-back road wins at Kansas City and Oral Roberts last week, started a season-ending three-game homestand with a 71-57 loss to St. Thomas.

Western Illinois (10-17 overall, 5-11 Summit League) plays North Dakota and North Dakota State next week, hoping to get a little bit of a spark heading into the conference tournament.

“I think we had some great momentum coming in from last week,” said guard Mallory McDermott, who led the Leathernecks with 14 points. “I think we kind of had a lull today, but it’s nice that we’ll have two home games before we get into (the tournament). So I think that will help us.”

St. Thomas (11-15, 6-10) took control of the game early with an 11-0 run that helped build a 25-14 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Tommies shot 66.7 percent in the first quarter and 56.7 percent in the first half.

Western Illinois had just five first-quarter field goals. 

“I felt like we were on our heels all night and they kind of dictated to us from the get-go,” said Western Illinois associate head coach Dan Chapla. “And I thought we were missing some … I don’t want to say easy shots, but they were shots we’ve been making the last couple of weeks. The next thing you know, a six-point game becomes 10 or 12. And they just kept going from there.”

“I think they were shooting really well, and I think sometimes we were letting them have too many open shots,” McDermott said. “We just couldn’t get it going on the offensive end to combat that.”

Western Illinois was within 37-28 late in the first half before St. Thomas got back-to-back 3-pointers from Maggie Negaard and Jordyn Glynn to help the Tommies take a 43-30 halftime lead.

Negaard, who finished with 20 points, scored St. Thomas’ first eight points of the second half as the Tommies pulled away. The Leathernecks were just 3-of-15 from the field in the third quarter.

“I just felt like in the second half, we couldn’t get a run going,” Chapla said.

Jade Hill led St. Thomas with 21 points. Hill made her first six shots.

“When we played them up there, we went under some ball screens and she hit a couple of shots, which you’re supposed to do,” Chapla said. “Today we kind of dared her to do that and she stuck a few in our eyes, so to speak.”

McDermott was the only Leatherneck to score in double figures. Kennedy Flanagan added nine off the bench.

Photo: WIU’s Mallory McDermott shoots in the second half of Saturday’s game against St. Thomas. (Daytona Dooley/WIU Athletic Communications)

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