The IUPUI women’s basketball team faltered at home Monday against the Milwaukee Panthers by a score of 67-60. The loss interrupted a 3-game winning streak for the Lady Jags and was a sour start to a 3-game home stand.
The Lady Jags chose the wrong game to lose their offensive groove. In their last three games, they had been averaging 86 points per contest. Monday, they put up a measly 60, shooting a wimpy 42% from the field.
From the jump, it was obvious this game wouldn’t be easily won. IUPUI has been notorious for stingy defense all season, and Milwaukee returned the favor with tight man coverage. Points were tough to come by in the beginning of the game for everyone not named Tamya. Junior forward Tamya Sims scored the first 10 points of the game and kept the Lady Jags in the contest.
The Lady Jaguars secured a small lead in the first quarter and hoped to ride their 17-13 advantage into the second quarter. They did not.
The second quarter was where the offensive woes began for IUPUI. The passes were crisp. The looks were open. The shots just didn’t fall. The frustrated Lady Jags allowed a 10-3 Milwaukee run that would prove difficult to overcome. Macee Williams had had enough. The freshman phenom decided they would trail no longer and used her silky post moves to bring IUPUI back into contention.
“Our shots just didn’t fall tonight,” said Williams. “It was kind of tough, but you have to keep pushing through.”
It was anyone’s game at halftime. The score read 30-28 in favor of Milwaukee. Though IUPUI’s perimeter defense was sturdy, they let too much go in the post. Milwaukee forwards were putting up layup after layup from quick dump passes, and there was little the Lady Jags could do to stop it.
The battle for an advantage continued in the second half. Both teams found success in the post. Back-to-back threes from Holly Hoopingarner and Tamya Sims shifted momentum in favor of IUPUI entering the 4th quarter. The Lady Jags trailed 44-42.
Lawrence, who had been quiet to this point, showed the offensive firepower she possess that makes her one of the most feared scorers in the conference. She dropped two 3-point shots in successive possessions. She followed those up by finding Williams in the post for an easy score. Strong offensive rebounding and post scoring from Milwaukee kept them in line with the Lady Jags scoring outburst. In the end, Milwaukee scored when they had to and hit their free throws in crunch time.
“We weren’t able to get the stops we needed to,” Sims said. “We weren’t able to lock down on defense and score in transition. They were scoring in transition like crazy. Getting those stops down the stretch would have helped.”
Williams led the Jags offensively with 18 points, followed by Sims with 17 and Lawrence with 13. Sims also led the team in rebounding with 6.
The Lady Jags continue their homestand Friday, Feb. 23 vs Wright State (19-9, 10-6).