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The Journal Gazette

Monday, November 13, 2017 12:00 am

IPFW women win home opener

AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette

IPFW women's basketball won its home opener with a 79-70 win over Loyola-Chicago at the Gates Center on Sunday.

"I'm just really proud of this group," coach Niecee Nelson said. "It was a great team effort and great team win. You look at our production from all our freshmen. They stepped up big in a big way at home. They're coming out and playing with a lot of confidence and that's great to see.

"Our returners, same thing. We had 16 bench points tonight. When you can get your starters and bench contributing, this is what happens."

Hannah Albrecht led six players in double-figures with 16 points. Anna Lappenküpper, De'Jour Young, Kierstyn Repp and KeShyra McCarver each had 12 and Jaelencia Williams added 11.

The teams were tied at 3 with 7:31 left in the first quarter but after a 3 from Albrecht to break the tie, the Mastodons never trailed, going into halftime up 34-27.

IPFW extended its lead to 47-33 with 6:38, its biggest lead of the game. The Ramblers got within 63-59 with 4:32 left in the fourth but free-throw shooting down the stretch by the Mastodons kept the game out of reach as IPFW went 16 of 19 from the line in the final four minutes.

"I think that we can execute really well when we're playing Fort Wayne basketball," Young said. "When we're doing the right stuff, running the plays, making sure we're in gaps, that's when we play really well. When we stop talking and communicating or just getting lazy on defense, that's when the other teams start getting on the run."

Kailyn Strawbridge scored 32 points on 12 of 22 shooting from the field to lead the Ramblers and Ellie Rice added 20, shooting 8 of 11 from the floor.

The Mastodons (1-1) were coming off a 64-50 season-opening loss at Illinois on Friday and face Belmont in Nashville on Wednesday.

"We put together that schedule with Illinois, Xavier, Belmont and Michigan," Nelson said. "We put together a diverse schedule and challenge them all the way through so they're not shell-shocked when they get to conference. This is one of the best mid-major conferences in the country and so when we were putting that together, we were playing teams that can get up and down, have post play and that can shoot the ball. I'm really excited about this non-conference schedule."

areichel@jg.net