By Ryan Clark
Ky. - Jessica Keller did not want to see her career come to an end.
Caught in a
second half battle with the sixth-seeded Drury Panthers, the No.
3-seed Quincy Lady Hawks looked to Keller, the Great Lakes Valley
Conference Player of the Year, to take control.
The senior guard
did just that, scoring 15 points and dishing out four assists in
a 66-56 Lady Hawk victory in the first round of the NCAA Division
II Midwest Regional at Northern Kentucky University.
The Lady Hawks
(27-4) advance to the semifinals to face the winner of the day’s
second matchup between No. 7 seed Indianapolis and No. 2 seed Hillsdale.
was held under her season average of 20 points per game, had a lot
of help, specifically from sophomore forward Courtney Shuman, who
finished with 17 points and 19 rebounds - 12 of those on the offensive
end. Junior forward Janette Burgin chipped in 16 points and 11 rebounds.
think there were nerves or jitters,” Keller said. “We’ve
played all year up and down. Whether it’s the first half or
the second half, we’ve always had that five-minute lapse in
games. We’ve got to figure that out for the next game. I think
it was more or less we had to come in here and work well as a team,
and that’s how we finished the game, working as a team.”
No. 9 in the USA Today/ESPN Division II poll, took their first lead
at 3-2, but did not lead again until there was less than eight minutes
to play. Drury (19-10) used their quickness and pressure to try
and offset Quincy’s sizeable height advantage. But the Lady
Panthers couldn’t hold on, losing the rebounding battle 46-42.
pretty worried about having to play them,” said Quincy head
coach J.D. Gravina. “You’re always just really excited
to advance. In the second half of the year, most of our games were
close in the second half.”
at intermission, Quincy tied the game four times to open the second
half, with the help of two assists and three baskets by Keller.
After a turnaround jumper by junior forward Janette Burgin and a
three-pointer by senior guard Alex Roznowski, Quincy retook the
lead, 52-49. They never gave up the lead again, using a 10-0 run
to blow the game open.
a near-perfect first half from the standpoint of executing the game
plan,” said Drury head coach Steve Harold. “Maybe 13’s
an unlucky number. It’s Friday the 13th and we were 13-0 (when
leading) at halftime.”
But Harold lamented
his team’s lack of controlling the ball, pointing out they
had 17 turnovers in the second half. Still, Drury is also a relatively
young team, with no seniors on the squad – unlike Quincy,
which is led by three seniors and six juniors.
is) a team with a couple veterans there that understand the word
finality,” Harold said. “If you don’t win, it’s
over. My team, we don’t have seniors, and I don’t know
if we ever truly understood the idea that if you lose you’re
Shuman, playing far above her head as a sophomore, understood all
want to go home, so we sent them home,” she said. Shuman said
the team’s defense picked up in the second half, and she was
surprised afterward to hear she had 12 offensive rebounds.
alone would probably be my (career) high,” she said. “Having
19 is pretty awesome.”
play Indianapolis in a semifinal game at 6 p.m. Saturday.