Schuckman: Lady Hawks stay poised in their pursuit of region championship

Posted: Mar. 15, 2014 9:44 pm Updated: Apr. 27, 2014 1:03 am

Jeni Garber didn't take the timeout because of panic.

She took it to tell the Quincy University women's basketball players not to panic.

Truth be told, the Lady Hawks weren't worried.

"No one panicked," senior forward Felisha Loggins said. "We knew we had to stay calm."

Down 16 points less than two minutes into the second half Friday night in the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional opener against Northern Michigan, Garber called timeout to regroup her team. The Wildcats had opened the half on a 7-0 run, and there was a sense inside Drury University's O'Reilly Family Event Center this game could turn into a blowout.

That wasn't the case inside the QU huddle, where poise reigned.

"We knew we needed to make a run," senior guard Lucy Cramsey said. "We saw some spurts where we really played well. We knew we could do that."

And the Lady Hawks knew, thanks to the scouting report, they could shut the Wildcats down.

"I watched the film," Loggins said. "They like to drive. I knew we could take that away."

So why worry, right?

"Yeah, no one was worried," Loggins said. "We just had to go out and keep playing."

It's what the Lady Hawks have to do again Sunday.

QU erased the 16-point deficit, tying the game with less than three minutes remaining in regulation. Although the Lady Hawks never took the lead, they forced overtime and outscored the Wildcats 12-5 in the extra period to score a 65-58 victory and move into the region semifinals against top-seeded Drury.

The Lady Panthers also had to survive overtime to advance, beating eighth-seeded Truman State 74-68, but they will be playing on their home floor in front of their home crowd with revenge on their minds.

Quincy beat Drury 82-79 at Pepsi Arena to take over the Great Lakes Valley Conference West Division lead at the time. Drury ended up winning the division, but it did not lose another regular season game.

"They'll be ready," Loggins said. "It's going to be a good game."

Don't expect the Lady Hawks to be worried. Expect them to be ready.

Although the time frame is much different -- QU had four days to prep for Northern Michigan, but has only one to get ready for Drury -- Garber and her staff will have a scouting report complete and a defensive plan in place to corral the Lady Panthers. It worked once, and with whatever tweaks are necessary, it could work again.

What the Lady Hawks realize is they have the experience and character to handle anything.

A large, hostile crowd.

An opponent with a chip on its shoulder.

And a season that comes down to one game for survival.




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