Women's College Basketball

Ruzevich brings Hawks to life, sparks improbable comeback

Kate Ruzevich
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 8, 2018 12:01 am Updated: Feb. 9, 2018 3:00 am

QUINCY -- After powering her way to the basket and scoring while being fouled, Kate Ruzevich let out a scream that echoed in every corner of Pepsi Arena.

"I just like, ‘Let's gooooo,'" Ruzevich said. "I wanted to hype everyone up. I knew we had it in us. I wanted them to believe it, too."

Her Quincy University women's basketball teammates were true believers.

Ruzevich's layin jumpstarted a 14-1 run that culminated with Jessie Rabas hitting a 3-pointer with 1:26 to go that gave the Hawks a 58-56 lead. Wisconsin-Parkside answered with a 3-pointer by Georgie Eishold to retake the lead, but Anika Webster made four free throws in the final 30 seconds and Ruzevich cleared a key defensive rebound to finish the comeback in a 62-59 Great Lakes Valley Conference victory.

It all started with Ruzevich's most demonstrative moment of her burgeoning career.

"I always watch the NBA," the freshman forward said. "If the guys can do it, why can't the girls? I was hyped myself, so I was like, ‘Let's get my team hyped.'

"It was a rolling effect, a snowball effect like my dad would always say."

Prior to that, the Hawks (8-15, 4-10 GLVC) lacked energy, consistency and scoring.

The Rangers led 44-34 at the end of the third quarter as the Hawks had shot just 25.6 percent from the field up to that point. Because of that, a comeback seemed unlikely.

"Everyone saw it," Ruzevich said. "The gym was dead. We were dead."

So QU coach Jeni Garber turned to her bench to changed the atmosphere.

Ruzevich, whose twin sister, Julia, is in QU's starting lineup, subbed in with 8:52 to play and scored on her first two touches. Webster followed with a 3-pointer to make it a 10-point game with 5:08 to go.

A missed 3-pointer a minute later by the Rangers (8-17, 4-9 GLVC) allowed the Hawks to push the pace and get the ball to Ruzevich in the middle of the floor. She scored going to her left as part of a career-high 11-point effort.

"At the end of the day, there's no statistic that shows we won that game on all heart and all energy," said Webster, who led the Hawks with 22 points and 10 rebounds. "But that's what we did."

After Ali Bettencourt, the younger sister of former QU guard Carly Bettencourt, scored with 5:50 to go to put the Rangers up by 16, Wisconsin-Parkside missed five consecutive shots and made just one of its final seven field goal attempts. Quincy went 7 of 10 from the field in the same stretch.

"It took energy," Garber said. "We have to have energy to play games and win games. It's no fun to go out there and play if you don't have energy because no one is into it. So they really came out in the fourth quarter and showed their energy and their togetherness."

Quincy 62, Wisconsin-Parkside 59

WISCONSIN-PARKSIDE (8-16, 4-8 GLVC)

Bettencourt 6-23 2-2 14, Murphy 0-0 1-2 1, Maystead 3-8 1-1 7, Eishold 3-9 0-0 8, Rahkonen 2-6 3-4 8, Kroening 2-2 0-0 4, Cabrero 0-1 0-0 0, Lawson 3-12 0-0 9, Bilic 2-4 3-4 8. Totals 21-65 10-13 59.

QUINCY (7-15, 3-10 GLVC)

J. Ruzevich 4-10 1-6 9, Gronewold 0-3 2-2 2, Webster 5-14 9-10 22, Rabas 2-6 0-0 6, Low 0-4 0-0 0, Spagnola 0-3 2-2 2, Petrovic 0-3 1-2 1, Warfield 0-0 0-0 0, K. Ruzevich 5-6 1-2 11, Hickey 0-1 2-2 2, Harazin 0-2 0-0 0, Merino 3-4 0-0 7. Totals 19-56 18-26 62.

Parkside 11 12 21 15--59

Quincy 9 12 13 28--62

3-point field goals--Parkside 7-29 (Lawson 3-7, Eishold 2-5, Rahkonen 1-3, Bilic 1-2, Bettencourt 0-10, Maystead 0-2), Quincy 6-17 (Webster 3-6, Rabas 2-6, Merino 1-1, Gronewold 0-2, Spagnola 0-1, Petrovic 0-1). Rebounds--Parkside 34 (Maystead 8), Quincy 34 (Webster 10). Assists--Parkside 9 (Kroening 4), Quincy 14 (Hickey 6). Steals--Parkside 6 (Eishold 2), Quincy 7 (Low 2). Blocked shots--Parkside 3 (Maystead, Cabrero, Lawson), Quincy 3 (Low, Spagnola, Warfield). Turnovers--Parkside 10, Quincy 11. Fouls--Parkside 20, Quincy 12. Fouled out--Murphy. Officials--Brian Moore, Kalee Davidson, John Schild.

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