Milwaukee Uses Strong Finish To Knock Off Eastern Kentucky
Nov. 25, 2012
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Junior Angela Rodriguez scored a game-high 19 points and made all four of her free throw attempts in the final 16 seconds to help the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's basketball team secure a 68-64 victory over Eastern Kentucky University Sunday afternoon at Morales Coliseum.
The Panthers (3-2) trailed the Colonels (3-2) by 10 points early in the game, but used a 19-6 scoring run to get back into it and then iced the game at the line late. After starting the day 5-for-14 from the charity stripe, Milwaukee made nine of its last 10 - including all six in the final 24 seconds of the contest to finish the weekend at 1-1 in the San Juan Shootout.
"When Angela is aggressive, we are a completely different team," UWM head coach Kyle Rechlicz said. "We look for her leadership on the floor and her ability to score. She is a very capable scorer and it was nice to see her take the team on her shoulders and hit the big shots when we needed her to."
Senior Sami Tucker added 15 points and a team-high eight rebounds and sophomore Ashley Green chipped in with eight points and seven rebounds. Freshman Avyanna Young had seven points and sophomore Janna Swopshire added six points and three boards.
Jade Barber and Jalisa Bryant each had 15 to lead Eastern Kentucky.
"We had some really key people step up today," Rechlicz said. "Macie Dorow was huge for us coming off the bench from a defensive standpoint - she really got our defense going. And Janna Swopshire really battled in the post. Without those two, I am not sure we win the game."
The Panthers used a strong effort on defense, turning 22 EKU turnovers into 19 points while also taking four charges in the second half alone.
"Our defense is what we want to be known for," Rechlicz said. "It will be our defense that will create our offensive opportunities."
After leading at the half, Milwaukee fell behind but continued to trade baskets in the second, never trailing by more than three points. Behind 55-52, Rodriguez made a jumper to cut it to one and then gave UWM the lead with a three-pointer at 57-55 with just over six minutes to play.
But, the Lady Colonels would not go away. Back-to-back baskets put EKU back on top, 62-60, with 1:15 left in the game. Junior Kimee Chandler answered with a big basket on the other end to tie the score for the 11th and final time. Milwaukee would close it out from the free throw line from there, with Green making a pair and Rodriguez netting the final four.
After a cold start to the game from the floor, Milwaukee found itself down, 17-7, just five minutes in after three consecutive EKU three's. From that point on, the Panthers turned it around, using its own three-point shots to do it.
"Coming in less than 24 hours later and stepping on the court against a very similar athletic team, we knew it was going to be hard on our legs and that it might take us a little bit to get going," Rechlicz said.
The team started sinking baskets from long distance, making seven of 13 attempts before half, including five out of seven as part of a 19-6 run, with Chandler's triple capping the stretch and making it 26-23 in UWM's favor at the 7:39 mark.
"We feel like we are a really good three-point shooting team and I am fine relying on our strengths," Rechlicz said. "And, if we have to take 20 to 25 three's to get our numbers, then I am fine with us doing that."
Young did her damage down the stretch to intermission, scoring all seven of her points consecutively in the final 4:27 of the first. That helped give UWM a 38-36 advantage heading into the locker room after a period that featured four ties and six lead changes.
The Panthers return to the States next, but stay on the road, taking on Illinois State Nov. 29.