MACOMB, Ill. - Western Illinois saw seven different players hit a 3-point field goal, totaling 15 on the night, as the Fighting Leathernecks cruised to an 85-35 victory over Clarke on Tuesday night (Nov. 13). The win evened Western's record at 1-1 overall.
The Leathernecks got hot from beyond the arc, especially during the second half hitting 10-of-16. The 15 3-pointers matched a program record set last February versus Oakland. Saule Kontautaite, Charnelle Reed and Sophie Reichelt hit three 3s apiece.
Clarke (counted this game as an exhibition) opened the scoring on a basket by Anna Hahn. Led by 3-pointers from Michele Salvatori and Michelle Maher, Western scored nine straight. The Crusaders closed the gap to 15-10 at the 7:52 mark thanks to a pair of free throws from Breland Prochaska. However, Western used an 11-0 run to pull away and closed out the half on a 20-7 spurt.
Western forced 14 first-half turnovers and held Clarke to 22.2 percent shooting from the field. Rebecca Henricson hit a 3-pointer to start the second half scoring. Ashley Luke scored a basket in the lane then Maher hit another trey to cap an 8-0 run. Kontautaite drained a 3-pointer, Salvatori hit a baseline jumper then Reed scored nine straight of her own extending the lead to 36. Reichelt went 3-for-3 from long distance off the bench, and Western led by as many as 52 when Martyna Kudziela hit a jumper in the lane.
"I thought we had a pretty good effort tonight. Clarke is not a bad NAIA team. We played some games like this last year against similar teams and we didn't have near the same feeling or result. That's kind of why we schedule these games, to have that result," said head coach JD Gravina. We are able to get a lot of kids in and we can build some confidence, especially for the Mizzou game. Overall I thought the intensity was good. The first half we had a couple of lows with our intensity and rebounding. I thought second half are rebounding was better and so was our intensity."
The 50-point margin of victory was the largest since Western defeated Illinois-Springfield by 71 back in December 2005. In three of the last four games (dating back to last year), Western has made at least nine 3-pointers and is averaging 10 made 3s in that span.
Reed led all scorers with 16 points followed by 15 from Kontautaite. Maher also scored in double-figures with 10, in addition to her game-high six assists and four steals. Luke grabbed 10 rebounds and finished with seven points. Twelve different Leathernecks scored a point.
Western shot 46.4 percent overall, and was 51.7 accurate from beyond the arc. The Leathernecks also held a 52-30 edge on the glass. It was the first time since playing Judson two years ago the team grabbed at least 50 rebounds. The 26 assists were also the most since dishing out 25 at Centenary in January 2008.
"We had some fun. It was neat to see all five freshmen out there on the court together; it was neat how we were all sharing the ball. I thought we moved the ball better than we have in our previous three games so I think we're seeing some improvement," said Gravina.
Clarke finished 24.6 percent from the field and was 1-of-11 from 3-point range. Prochaska led the scoring with seven points while Katelyn Hoppman grabbed eight rebounds.
The Leathernecks close out a three-game in five-day stretch on Thursday night (Nov. 15), traveling to Missouri. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.