By BLAKE TOPPMEYER
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
A month ago, the Quincy University women's basketball team appeared dead in the water.
Fast forward to now, and the Lady Hawks are riding a four-game winning streak and are 3-0 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference after their 65-58 win over Kentucky Wesleyan on Thursday at Pepsi Arena.
Quincy (5-6) and Missouri S&T (8-4, 4-0) are the only unbeaten teams remaining in the GLVC West Division.
QU is 3-0 in GLVC play for the first time since the 2004-05 season, when it started 4-0. Just don't call the Lady Hawks the division favorites.
"In certain ways, we still feel like the underdog, because we have such a bad record, but we also have that confidence inside of us," said QU junior guard Lucy Cramsey, who recorded her second straight double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
"I like the underdog a lot. I always root for the underdog, so we might as well be it."
Quincy was 1-6 after a 72-66 loss on Dec. 5 to NAIA's Harris Stowe State. Since, then the Lady Hawks have started to rebuild their confidence.
QU survived 20 turnovers against KWC (6-4, 2-1) by outrebounding the Panthers 46-35 and limiting KWC to 35 percent shooting, including 28.6 percent shooting in the second half. It marked the eighth time this season Quincy has outrebounded its opponent.
"We definitely could be a lot more confident, but it's getting there," said QU freshman guard Maggie Cunningham, who had a career-high 16 points. "I think after these huge wins, our confidence has been boosted. It was a sloppy game, but if we can have a sloppy game and still get a win, that's definitely a confidence booster."
Cunningham certainly didn't lack for confidence down the stretch. KWC trailed 61-58 with 1 minute, 2 seconds remaining after going on a 4-0 run, but Cunningham salted away the win by going 4 of 4 from the free-throw line in the final 35 seconds.
Cunningham was 9 of 10 from the foul line for the game and is 30 of 35 (85.7 percent) from the charity stripe this season.
"It says a lot about Maggie, because she came out in the last minute and a half, two minutes and had the ball in her hands and wasn't scared," Cramsey said. "She shot free throws and made them. That was huge for us."
Cramsey got QU going early. She made six of her first seven field-goal attempts, including her first three 3-point attempts.
Cramsey made a basket in the paint with 9:20 remaining in the first half to cap an 8-2 run that put QU ahead 27-21.
"Her energy level is helping everybody else," Cunningham said. "We're feeding off her energy level."
KWC started the second half on a 7-3 run to go ahead 44-42, but QU responded with a 9-0 run and never trailed again.
"I was really proud of them. We could've easily folded," QU coach Jeni Garber said. "Lucy kind of sparked us with some rebounding, and that got us going again. I thought that was a key for us. When she came in and started getting all the rebounds, that helped us out."
Kelly Buresh added 10 points and seven rebounds for QU, and Hannah Weedman had eight points and seven rebounds.
Kourtney Rhoads and Lauren Goffinet had 11 points apiece to lead KWC.
The Panthers had only three turnovers in the first half but committed 10 after halftime, matching Quincy's second-half total.
"We just kind of got rushed offensively," KWC co-coach Caleb Nieman said.
Still, Nieman said he could live with the turnovers. It was the 10 rebounds from Cramsey and 11 from QU junior guard Felisha Loggins that were particularly damaging, he said.
"Being outsized is one thing, but the other thing is they have some physical, athletic guards who attack the glass," Nieman said. "We knew that was going to be a challenge for us. For the most part, our kids focused on (rebounding) and did it, but you're going to have those possessions where they're still coming and getting second-chance points and third-chance points, and I think that was the key."