On Feb. 1 the Elmhurst College women’s basketball team record was 7-2 in CCIW games and looked to be in good position to qualify for a CCIW tournament. Four straight losses later and the ‘Jays found themselves needing a win against the best team in the conference, Illinois Wesleyan University, on the last game of the season in order to make it in.
That did not happen.
The ‘Jays fell 63-82 to IWU on Feb. 18, officially ending their season. The ‘Jays were in the driver’s seat heading into the game against IWU. Win and they were in. But the loss dropped the ‘Jays into a tie with Millikin University for the fourth and final spot. Millikin won the tie breaker.
“We did have a tough finish to the season, losing our last five games,” said senior Megan Ney. “The CCIW is an extremely competitive conference. Any team can beat anyone on any given night.”
Turnovers, an issue throughout the entire season, proved to be extremely costly against IWU. IWU scored 33 points off of 28 turnovers.
“We weren’t making good decisions on the court, and that is crucial when you play any team, especially in the CCIW,” said Ney. The ‘Jays went down by ten points early in the second half before using a 15-7 run to pull within two points with 11 minutes remaining. However, that was the closest the ‘Jays ever got. IWU used an 18-0 run to push their lead to 20 points. The ‘Jays were able to bring the lead down to 13 points, but IWU extended their lead to 19 before the game was over.
“We were all really upset because the game was close for almost the entire game, and then it just slipped away from us,” Ney said. “They hit some key shots and pulled away.”
Freshman Tess Godhardt led the ‘Jays in the loss scoring a career-high 26 points. She also added nine rebounds. Senior Meghan Merklein finished with 13 points and eight rebounds. Ney finished with six points. The ‘Jays shot 46.2 percent from the floor compared to IWU, who shot 44.4 percent.
Five IWU players reached double figures. Olivia Lett led IWU with 18 points. Illinois Wesleyan won the regular season title. Wheaton, followed by Carthage and Millikin, rounded out the CCIW tournament qualifiers.