Leatherneck Offense Heats Up in 87-52 Victory Over Chicago State
Courtesy: Western Illinois Athletics  
Release: Monday 01/08/2013
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MACOMB, Ill. - Six Fighting Leathernecks reached double figures as the women's basketball team defeated Chicago State (1-15) 87-52 at Western Hall on Tuesday (Jan. 8). The victory allows Western to maintain a perfect 6-0 mark on its home court and brings its overall record to 8-7.

Saule Kontautaite posted a team-high 13 points, followed closely by Michelle Maher who netted 12. Also reaching double figures were Christina Jones (11 points), Michele Salvatori (10 points), Charnelle Reed (10 points) and Jackie Rieger (10 points). The last time Western had five reach double figures was on Jan. 17, 2009 against Oral Roberts.

The Leatherneck offense opened regulation with a 16-4 run in the first five minutes of play highlighted by two Kontautaite threes and one from the hands of Maher. Western led by as much as 16 in the first half and headed into the break with a 42-26 advantage over the Cougars.

The offense stayed hot in the second half outscoring Chicago State 45-26. Jones knocked down two of her three 3-pointers in the final 20 minutes, while Liz Skotowski came off the bench to net 3-of-4 from long range. Jones' 11 points and Skotowski's nine points marked new career-highs for each.

The 87-52 win halted Western's two-game skid and was a total team effort. Of the 13 Leathernecks that entered the contest, all but one scored. It is the second highest scoring game of the season, the highest occurring in the squad's 92-81 victory over Bradley on Dec. 21.

In the contest, Western netted 14 '3s', just one shy of tying the No. 1 spot on the 'Top 10' list for threes in a game. Six team members sunk at least one from long range.

"We got off to a really good start," said head coach JD Gravina. "I kind of feel like we have our old team back, and that was a big confidence builder. I thought we did a really good job adjusting to their different defenses, between their normal man, them pressuring a little bit and a little zone that they ran, I thought we did a good job of adjusting. Our whole key is sharing the ball, at the last media timeout we had 25 assists and only eight turnovers. When we play well were usually have numbers similar to that. When we share the ball and move without the ball we can be a pretty good offensive team."

Rachel Evans paced the team in rebounds pulling down seven, three of which came on the offensive end of the court. Maher posted a team-high four steals and six assists, which match her previous season-high marks.

Western shot 47.1 percent from the floor, 45.7 percent from long range and 63.6 percent from the charity stripe, while holding the Cougars to 33.3 percent from the floor and 74.1 percent from the free throw line. Chicago State was 0-for-5 from three-point range.

The Leathernecks return to action in Western Hall this Saturday (Jan. 12) against Summit League member Omaha. Western enters the contest with a conference mark of 1-2, while Omaha is 3-1 in league play.


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