ROCHESTER, Mich. - Western Illinois women's basketball (7-5 Overall, 1-0 Summit League) began regulation with an Ashley Luke layup to stake an advantage over Oakland (6-7 Overall, 0-1 Summit League) in its Summit League opening game and never surrendered it recording the 81-73 victory on Friday (Dec. 28).
The win allowed the Leathernecks to stretch their win streak to three games and record their first road win at Oakland since Feb. 24, 2004.
Western shot 53.3 percent from the field in the opening half of play and led by as much as 15 points. The lone tie of the contest occurred within the first minute of play. Back-to-back layups from Luke and a three from Michelle Maher gave the Leathernecks an early 7-2 advantage and the offense never slowed down leading by as much as 15.
With less than seven minutes remaining in the first, Oakland's offense went on a 16-3 run and sent the Leathernecks to the locker room with a four-point advantage, 40-36.
The Golden Grizzlies started the second half of play with a Victoria Lipscomb three, but Saule Kontautaite and Rebecca Henricson responded knocking down threes of their own on consecutive possessions.
Western controlled Oakland's offense for the remainder of regulation and maintained at least a five-point advantage to open conference play with a 81-73 win.
Kontautaite's 26 points marked a season-high and paced the Leatherneck offense. Joining her in double figures were Luke with 16, Maher with 11 and Henricson with 10. Luke's effort was a season- and career-high, while Henricson's matched her season- and career-high.
Salvatori led Western in rebounds posting a season-high performance with 10, while Luke added eight of her own. Maher posted a team-high five assists.
Western shot 53.4 percent from field goal range and 55 percent from beyond the arc, while holding Oakland to 37.7 percent from the field and 23.8 percent from three-point range.
The Leathernecks continue Summit League play this Sunday (Dec. 30)at Fort Wayne. Tip off is scheduled for 2 p.m. EST.