27 points from senior guard Amanda Gibson fueled a second half surge that propelled Parkside past Southern Indiana 61-51.
Featuring a clash of two Great Lakes Valley Conference front-runners, UW-Parkside (10-2) (18-3) hosted the University of Southern Indiana (6-3) (15-5) at DeSimone Gymnasium in Kenosha, WI.
Matching last season’s win total (18), the Rangers have won eight of their last nine, and now possess a perfect 11-0 record at home.
Ranked first in turnover margin in the circuit (+6.05), Indiana displayed why with pressure defense that resulted in point production.
Fortunately, the Rangers boasted advantages of their own.
Swarming the glass, UW-P capitalized on 16 offensive rebounds. The excellent interior play has them ranked tops in the GLVC in rebounding margin (+8.4).
Following the second triple buried by Indiana’s Ellen Young, the Screaming Eagles increased their advantage to 32-23. Serving as playmaker and facilitator, Young led her squad with 27 points and four assists.
6’0” junior Brittany Hogen expressed her displeasure by answering with 10 first half points along with six rebounds for the Rangers. Capped off by suffocating post defense, the Rangers vaulted themselves into the lead with an 11-0 run in the half’s final two minutes.
“We just had a great defensive mentality,” said Jenny Kenesie, Parkside’s eighth year head coach. “The team really got after it and that’s the kind of thing we need consistently.”
Hogen completed her night with a double-double slating 22 points and 11 rebounds.
Lighting up the stat sheet, Parkside entered the break shooting at a 52 percent (16-of-31) clip locked in a 34-34 dual.
Receiving major minutes in a reserve role, sophomore Amy Selk delivered with six points in the opening 20 minutes.
Even with a trip to the locker room, the momentum never ceased for the home side.
Opening up a double-digit lead, Gibson drained a couple of jumpers from behind the arc which accounted for six of her 20 second half points. She also added three of both assists and rebounds.
“Today was her [Gibson’s] day,” Kenesie said. “She’s such a tough kid and is willing to do whatever it takes to help our team win.”
Nursing a lead through the duration of the final half, Gibson’s 10-of-10 free throw shooting put an exclamation mark on a pivital victory.
Set for arguably the most critical game for the Rangers in recent memory, the home squad hosts undefeated Indianapolis Saturday, Jan. 30 at 1 pm. Indianapolis is currently ranked No. 1 in the East Division at 19-0.
“We need to enter Saturday with the expectation of executing our game plan,” Kenesie assured. “They [Southern Indiana] have one of the best teams in the country, but our girls are up for the challenge.”