Release courtesy of Wisconsin Lutheran College athletics communications
MILWAUKEE, Wis. --- Three players scored in double figures and the Wisconsin Lutheran College women's basketball team held the visitng Alverno Inferno to just 25 percent shooting en route to a 69-37 win Wednesday night inside the Recreation Complex. With the win, the Warriors clinched their seventh NACC regular season championship. WLC will be the top seed and host next weekend's NACC Tournament.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Warriors (23-1, 18-1 NACC) jumped out to a 10-0 lead, forcing the Inferno (6-18, 5-14 NACC) to miss their first nine shots of the contest, and led 10-2 at the 3:52 mark in the first quarter. Jenna Mace (Wisconsin Dells, Wis.) scored four straight points, then Tierney Woodward (Poynette, Wis.) buried a deep triple as time expired, putting WLC ahead 19-2 after the opening stanza, holding the visitors without a field goal in the first 10 minutes.
After an offensive rebound and layup from Jen Dowden (Bonduel, Wis.), Woodward connected on a corner three to push Wisconsin Lutheran's lead to 24-4, forcing Alverno to take another timeout with 7:52 left in the second quarter. Dowden and Amanda Brug (Sturtevant, Wis.) converted consecutive layups, then Kelly Tramburg (Fall River, Wis.) knocked down a triple from the top of the key, increasing WLC's lead to 24 points with just over two minutes remaining in the first half. Tramburg converted a back-door layup as time expired to send the Warriors into the locker room with a 43-15 lead, shooting a 64.5 percent from the floor and holding the visitors to just 21.7 percent from the floor.
Dowden and Maddy Elrod (Conifer, Colo.) knocked down free throws to open the half, then Lexi Reinke (Bonduel, Wis.) converted a three-point play to extend Wisconsin Lutheran's advantage to 52-18 with just over six minutes remaining in the third quarter. Dowden buried a triple from the left wing, then Kelly Tramburg converted a three-point play, giving WLC a 60-22 advantage with two minutes left in the third period.
The Warriors carried a 62-22 lead into the fourth quarter, but the Inferno scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter, until Kalies Birkholz (Watertown, Wis.) knocked down a triple from the left wing, putting WLC ahead 65-30 with four minutes remaining in regulation. Nikita Conroy (West Allis, Wis.) scored two straight layups to close out the scoring, with the Warriors taking the 69-37 victory.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Dowden led all scorers with 15 points and five assists while Elrod and Tramburg added 10 points each. Reinke scored five points with a game-high eight rebounds and Mace chipped in four points with a game-high three steals, two rebounds, and two assists.
The Warriors shot 50 percent (29-of-58) from the floor and converted all six of their free throw attempts. Wisconsin Lutheran owned a 38-27 advantage on the backboards and dominated the paint, out-scoring Alverno 40-14. The hosts received 25 points from the bench and dished out 18 assists in the win.
Justice Hawkins paced Alverno with 11 points while Dani Hood added 10. The Inferno shot just 25 percent (12-of-48) from the field and were held to 6.7 percent (1-of-15) from three-point land.
The Warriors conclude regular season play Saturday when they host Edgewood for Senior Day and Winterfest. The Eagles (14-10, 11-8 NACC) fell to Concordia Wisconsin 75-71 Wednesday evening. Tip-off is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. inside the Recreation Complex. Live stats and video will be available at WLCSports.com.