The Women’s basketball team won a physical game yesterday afternoon against the Northern Michigan Wildcats of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Rangers won 75-68, in a game which also saw senior guard Amanda Gibson eclipse the 1000 career point mark, becoming just the eleventh Ranger to do so in school history.
“Unbelievable accomplishment,” said Coach Jenny Kenesie after the game, “Since the minute I walked in here I had high expectations for her, and she’s had high expectations for herself. She works extremely hard, and deserves all the accolades. I’m very proud of her.”
The game’s first half saw the Rangers slowly edge out a lead that would stay at about a ten point cushion for the better part of the half. The lead got to as big as fifteen, and leading the scoring charge for the Rangers was Brittney Beyer at the half with 9 points, and a perfect shooting percentage.
The Rangers were 16-of-27 in field goals and converted 6-of-8 from the line, both of which were better percentages than the opposing Wildcats.
As noted, the highlight of the game came when Amanda Gibson got to the 1000 point mark. She started the game three points shy, and accomplished it by scoring two and drawing a foul.
“It feels really good,” said Gibson. “That’s a goal you work towards since you’ve been playing here. I just owe it to all my teammates I’ve had over the years, Coach Knight and Coach Fischer. They’ve been great, and that’s who I really owe it to.”
The opening five minutes of the second half was stride for stride, but Northern Michigan began to unravel further, and Parkside put up a 17-point lead. This led to a Northern Michigan timeout, and, from there, their defensive pressure kicked it up a notch. The Wildcats made it a huge struggle for Parkside to clear the ball out and get the ball up-court.
“They really picked it up in the second half with ball pressure,” said Kenesie, “but I thought our kids stayed poised when it counted.”
The lead was chomped down from a 17-point advantage to as low as five points. This charge, led by defensive pressure, was greatly helped by Wildcat forward Mariah Dunham’s 33-point performance. Their push came to a halt when Dunham was fouled out with 1:26 left on the clock, and it led to the final score of 75-68.
“Big win for us,” said Gibson. “I really liked how we kept our composure towards the end. We never really faltered even when they went on some runs, but I think we did really well. It’s a really big confidence booster for us getting this game.”
“I thought our kids did a great job from start to finish,” said Kenesie. “There is no doubt in my mind that we played a lot harder than they did. They have a good team, and a strong player in Mariah Dunham, but, outside of that, the kids did a great job staying with it offensively and defensively while finishing strong.”
While the Wildcats had one player nearly account for half their point total, the Rangers had several great contributions across the board. Brittany Hogan lead the way with 17 points, Jadee Rooney had 15, Brittany Beyer had 14, and, coming off of the bench, Kristen Ruchti added 11.
“It’s a complete team effort,” said Kenesie. “We got a ton of effort from the kids off the bench.”
Parkside’s Women’s team next plays Monday at 5:30pm against Saginaw Valley State, who like the Northern Michigan Wildcats, hail from the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
“We just have to come out and do our business,” said Gibson. “We have to keep going, and keep improving each game.”