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Six WIU Players Notch Double Figures in Gritty Victory

  • Matthew Hutchison, Graduate Assistant Athletic Communications
  • MACOMB, Ill. – Six players notched double figures for the Western Illinois women’s basketball team (10-9, 3-2) in a gritty 82-75 victory over Denver (7-11, 1-4) on Sunday (Jan. 12). 
    “It was quite the basketball game,” said head coach JD Gravina. “That first half is how you want to play basketball. I thought our team was really gritty and played extremely hard. Denver is one of the most talented teams in the league and I thought they played really hard too. Our offense is starting to click the way that it’s supposed to.” 
     The Pioneers hit a deep three to make it a one-point Western lead (74-73) with 54 seconds left in the fourth quarter, but the newest member of the 1,000 point club had an answer.
     Olivia Kaufmann hit a driving layup with 39 seconds left and then grabbed the defensive rebound on the other end to set up for two made free throws and sink the Denver comeback. The senior recorded back-to-back games with a double-double and her fourth this season.   
    The Leathernecks erased the Denver advantage and earned its first lead of the game on the back of a Danni Nichols layup at 2:23 in the second. Back-to-back baskets from Sam Pryor and successful trips to the line by Evan Zars and Elizabeth Lutz made it 43-37 at the half. 
    Denver found their footing in the third quarter and narrowed it to a one-possession affair, 62-59 Western.
    Zars mirrored Kaufmann and recorded back-to-back games with a double-double. The threat down low also swatted four DU shots, only one away from her career-high. 
    Six players finished in double figures for the purple and gold – Kaufmann (24), Zars (12), Grace Gilmore (12), Pryor (11), Nichols (10) and Lutz (10) – the last time it happened was against William Woods, Nov. 27, 2018. 
    Western Illinois will try to sweep the three-game homestand on Saturday against Oral Roberts Saturday (Jan. 18) at 4:30 p.m. 

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