QUINCY -- Alexa Low had an inkling she had broken the Quincy University women's basketball program's single-game record for blocked shots Saturday afternoon, but she knew better than to assume anything.
"What I count as blocks aren't always what the stat people count as blocks," Low said. "So I was hoping for it."
Hope wasn't necessary. Her long arms, quick feet and body control took care of everything.
Low frustrated and intimidated Illinois-Springfield during a Great Lakes Valley Conference matchup, swatting away four shots in the first quarter alone and blocking a school-record eight shots during the Hawks' 78-72 victory at Pepsi Arena.
"That set the tone," QU coach Jeni Garber said. "They weren't as aggressive after the first quarter and couldn't get to the free-throw line because of it."
It's because Low was always looming, starting with consecutive blocks on the right block.
Low swatted a short jumper by the Prairie Stars' Makenna Fee, followed the offensive rebound as it fell to Airiana Smith and swatted away Smith's putback attempt. Low also grabbed the defensive rebound.
"When she does that, it takes a lot of pressure off our guards and deters the other team from going in there anymore," Garber said. "Alexa's there to control it."
She matched her career high with six blocks with a block of Fee midway through the fourth quarter. She tied the record set by Cindy Capesius in 1993 with a block of the Prairie Stars' Lauren Ladowski with two minutes remaining and set the new mark by rejecting a Malea Jackson shot with 42 seconds left.
The Hawks cleared the defensive rebound each time.
"If they're coming to me, our guards know to let they keep coming and to handle my person," Low said. "When we communicate and do that, no one is left open."
Low's previous best was six blocks at William Jewell, and the single-game record was on her mind.
"I wanted it," she said.
Yet, when she struggled to score in the first half, the blocks record became secondary. She knew she had to get her shot right to help the Hawks end a three-game skid.
"I don't think I could miss any more shots than I did in that first half," said Low, who was 2 of 12 from the field with six points in the first half. "But my teammates were so supportive. They were like, ‘Lex, we don't care. You're open. Keep shooting it.' I just could not get a shot to fall."
In the second half, Low developed some rhythm. She went 6 of 7 from the field and finished 6 of 8 from the free-throw line, netting a career-high 22 points to go along with 10 rebounds. It was her second double-double of the season and sixth of her career.
It also moved her closer to some career milestones. Low has the chance to finish her career with 500 points, 500 rebounds and 150 blocks. She already has 597 points and 158 blocks and sits at 392 career rebounds.
For someone who values her defensive contributions, it's the blocked shots record that means the most and she's just five swats away from breaking Amber Dvorak's career record of 162.
"As long as they keep coming in and attacking, I'm going to work hard to get blocks and affect shots," Low said.