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The Journal Gazette

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Indiana Tech center Keanna Gary looks to pass the ball after being tied up under the basket in the second quarter against Madonna during the WHAC tournament quarterfinals on Thursday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Madonna guard Kacy Robinson, left takes a shot at the basket in the second quarter against Indiana Tech during the WHAC tournament quarterfinals on Thursday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Madonna forward Becca Sabol scores under the basket in the second quarter against Indiana Tech during the WHAC tournament quarterfinals on Thursday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Indiana Tech forward DeAnn Kauffman scores under the basket just before the end of the second quarter against Madonna during the WHAC tournament quarterfinals on Thursday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Madonna guard Kacy Robinson, left guards Indiana Tech guard Haley Cook as she drives to the basket in the first quarter of the WHAC tournament quarterfinals on Thursday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Indiana Tech head coach Jessie Biggs after a time out in the second quarter against Madonna during the WHAC tournament quarterfinals on Thursday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Madonna forward Becca Sabol, rear guards Indiana Tech center Keanna Gary as she drives to the basket in the first quarter of the WHAC tournament quarterfinals on Thursday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Indiana Tech forward Kendall Knapke drives under the basket in the first quarter against Madonna during the WHAC tournament quarterfinals on Thursday.  

Thursday, February 22, 2018 10:30 pm

Indiana Tech 90, Madonna 61

Indiana Tech women topple Madonna

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Out at Indiana Tech, they call her “Steady Eddie.”

It’s because Kendall Knapke, a junior on the women's basketball team, has the same demeanor, same work ethic and same determination, in every practice and every game.

It’s a mighty good nickname, so long as steady means steadily good, and Knapke has been that. She showed it again Thursday night with 18 points, including crucial 4-of-8 shooting from 3-point range, and a team-best seven rebounds and two shot blocks, as the top-seeded Warriors began the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Tournament with a 90-61 quarterfinnal victory over eighth-seeded Madonna at the Schaefer Center.

“You pretty much just know what you’re going to get from me. It’s just the same every day, I guess,” Knapke said, admitting the nickname that was given to her early in her freshman year by coach Jessie Biggs doesn’t bother her. “No, not at all.”

The ninth-ranked Warriors (28-3), who won their first WHAC regular-season title with an 18-2 conference record, showed their depth against Madonna (10-19) by getting 30 points from Keanna Gary, 17 from Haley Cook, who earlier in the day was named the conference’s Player of the Year by coaches, and 10 from DeAnn Kauffmann.

“We guarded really well. We got stops and that let us run in transition and that’s how we score, that’s how we play,” said Knapke, a Heritage graduate who averages 12.3 points and 6 rebounds. “If we don’t get stops, then we don’t score.”

Biggs, who repeated as WHAC Coach of the Year, had two First Team All-Conference players (Cook and Gary) and six All-Academic Players (Cook, Gary, Bella Lozano-Dobbs, Mikaela Lyons, Baylee Rinehart and Emily Wieland), praised the offense for sending the Warriors into Saturday’s 1 p.m. semifinal against fifth-seeded Concordia at the Schaefer Center.

“I thought offensively we got back to doing what we like to do,” Biggs said. “We were playing pretty aggressive. I thought every kid out there took their shot when they had their shot. We didn’t have a turnover in the second half, so we took care of the ball. And defensively, we made some adjustments after halftime and started helping each other out.”

The Warriors’ 3-point shooting was pivotal to their success. They opened the game with a 10-0 run, culminating with a Knapke 3-pointer, and made four of their first eight shots from beyond the arc. They were 11 of 29 for the game.

A 21-9 lead dissipated to 31-30 before Cook drained a 3-pointer with 2:10 left in the second quarter, when Indiana Tech made just 6 of 18 shots and 1 of 7 from 3-point range. In the third quarter, the Warriors went on a 26-11 run, including 5-of-10 shooting from 3-point range, to take a 62-41 lead.

“We live or die off the 3s,” Knapke said. “If our shots are on, then we’re good. If not, then we’ve got to lock down and get stops and we did that when our shots weren’t on today. Once we got going again, we were good.”

Cook was 5 of 13 from 3-point range.

“I feel like when one of our kids gets hot, all of them get hot,” Biggs said. “We kind of go in spurts with that. If somebody hits a 3, then the next person in probably going to knock one down, too. They really feed off each other and I think that’s part of a good team.”

Madonna was paced by Becca Sabol, the WHAC’s 2016 Player of the Year, who had 21 points and seven rebounds.

jcohn@jg.net