ST. THOMAS 61, WIU 50: Leathernecks Can’t Feed Off Defense


Western Illinois’ defense did what it could to slow St. Thomas in Friday’s Summit League Women’s Basketball Tournament first-round game.

But the Leathernecks couldn’t capitalize on the other end.

St. Thomas pulled away for a 61-50 win, ending the Leathernecks’ season.

Western Illinois (10-20) led 33-32 with 3:04 left in the third quarter on Jada Thorpe’s basket, but the Tommies (13-6) went on an 18-3 run into the fourth quarter.

The Leathernecks shot 27.9 percent from the field, including 17.6 percent in 3-pointers.

“I mean, if we hold a team under 39 points in three quarters of play, it just has to be a game that we can win,” Western Illinois coach JD Gravina said. “Credit to St. Thomas – they really shot it well in the second half. I think we’ve got to learn from that and find a way to not be as dependent on 3-point shots and score both in the post and attacking the basket.”

“Until the flood gates opened it was a low-scoring game,” said Western Illinois guard Elizabeth Lutz. “We were going into the fourth quarter having scored 33 points and we’ve had games where we’ve scored more than that in one quarter alone. I think we just had to have confidence in our abilities, think about things we’ve done before the season, during practice, during games and knowing that, we needed to keep getting shots up, keep being confident.”

Maggie Negaard scored all of her 18 points in the second half to lead St. Thomas, the eighth seed in the tournament that advances to play regular-season champion South Dakota State on Saturday. Faith Feuerbach added 12 for the Tommies.

Mallory McDermott led Western Illinois, the ninth seed, with 11 points. Lutz added 10 points in the final game of her career.

Photo: Western Illinois’ Addi Brownfield drives down court during Friday’s game against St. Thomas. (Richard Carlson/Inertia)


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