Women’s College Basketball: South Suburban beats Lake Michigan College in NJCAA Div. II tourney opener
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media March 20, 2013 9:22PM
Updated: March 20, 2013 10:40PM
Having lost to Lake Michigan College by 27 points in December, South Suburban College coach Darrell Scott had a choice to make preparing for the rematch.
Discuss the flaws in the blowout loss or move on?
“We were a very young team in December, and this is a different team now,” Scott said. “The team understands how we want to play and what we want to do. We need to focus on what we want to do.”
Judging by Wednesday’s result at the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II National Tournament, the Bulldogs definitely took Scott’s message to heart.
Playing in opening-round action, No. 12 seed South Suburban upset fifth-seeded Lake Michigan 75-61 at Illinois Central College in Peoria.
The Bulldogs advance to play St. Clair County in a quarterfinal at 8 p.m. Thursday.
Megan Majors (T.F. South) poured in 28 points and had seven rebounds to lead South Suburban (23-12). Ashley Huddleston (Rich Central) added 19 points and Dorothy Taylor (Thornwood) chipped in 16 points and 14 rebounds.
Lake Michigan’s Breana Rivoli-Johnson, a 24-points-per-game scorer who dropped 30 points on South Suburban in the December win, was held to just 11 points on 3-of-22 shooting Wednesday, including 1-of-11 from three-point range.
“Our biggest focus was shutting her down and getting those big defensive stops,” Majors said.
Falling behind 19-9 early in the first half, South Suburban looked to be in trouble but shook off the opening nerves. The Bulldogs reeled off a 26-6 run to close the half.
Building on its 35-25 halftime advantage, South Suburban went up by as many as 22 points in the second half.
“Maybe it was jitters, but we were looking forward to this game so much,” Majors said. “It was another game, another play, another basket, and we were able to start playing.”
Majors scored 16 points in the second half, while Huddleston was clutch down the stretch, finishing 15-of-20 from the free-throw line.
“Megan has been huge for us all year, and this could really be a coming-out party for her,” Scott said. “She’s really starting to believe in herself.”
Courtney Peter led Lake Michigan (25-8) with 20 points.