By Roderick Wilbon, Sports Editor
The University of Missouri-St. Louis women’s basketball team took to the road to face Lewis University on February 1.
The Flyers came into the matchup red-hot on a 10-game win streak and are currently the East Division leader in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. UMSL is not a slouch either, being the Central Division leader and sporting its own five-game win streak. The game was a good challenge for both teams to test their skills against top competition and potential GLVC Tournament opponents.
The game was a tough one for UMSL, as would be for any other team when your starting point guard has an off night. Sammie Sproul, senior, business administration, had one of her worst performances of the season. In 34 minutes of action, Sproul went 0-8 in field goals, five of which were three-point attempts. Typically, Sproul is the most dangerous three-pointer shooter on the team. Although she was off in scoring the ball, she continued to do the little things to help her team win. She contributed three rebounds and one block, which means she was able to do what she could on defense.
When you miss shots, especially three-pointers, it opens a team up to get destroyed in the paint. Lewis really jumped on UMSL in the first period and dominated in the paint. UMSL came out in the second period with Alex Laporta, freshman, business administration, and Jordan Fletcher, senior, marketing, both down in the paint. The Lady Tritons adjusted and took control of the paint back. UMSL escaped the first half down by only four points while shooting 38.7 percent from the field.
The second half started and it was anyone’s game. But Sproul was still in her shooting funk, and the Flyers were able to widen the gap. The third period ended with the score 58-42 and the Flyers thought they had the game in the bag. Someone would need to step up for UMSL to have a shot. Kaitlynn Henning, junior, nursing who has become “Weapon X,” took over the game in the fourth period. Henning totalled 18 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, and the game winning three-pointer would be the deciding factor. The Tritons outscored the Flyers 15-1 over the last 2:45 in the fourth and final period with an offensive surge to secure the victory. The final score was 66-63.
The Tritons went on to play Wisconsin-Parkside, February 3. The Rangers have been an awful team coming into this game with a record of 8-15 overall and 4-7 in the GLVC. They are also ineligible for GLVC Championship Tournament & Divisional Championship because of conference sanctions. This would lead you to believe the red-hot Tritons would come into the game and dominate, and that is exactly what the Tritons did on the road.
Most of the scoring was done by two players. Fletcher and Arielle Jackson, junior, biology and communication, combined for 46 points of the 77-63 win against the Rangers. Both had season highs; Fletcher with 25 points, 8 rebounds, and 1 assist, and Jackson with 21 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist. Talk about “letting the big dog eat,” as Chris Duncan would say. Fletcher also achieved her 600th career rebound in the game. She is just the third player in the program’s history to do so.
The Lady Tritons next game is their Lace Up for Cancer game at home versus Indianapolis, February 8 at 5:30 p.m.