Lady Warriors move into the GRAC driver's seat

Lady Warrior coach Lacey Shalenko watches closely from the bench on Wednesday night at Lake Land.
Lady Warrior coach Lacey Shalenko watches closely from the bench on Wednesday night at Lake Land.

MATTOON, ILL. – The Lady Warriors moved into the driver's seat of the Great Rivers Athletic Conference basketball race with a 67-54 victory over Lake Land on Wednesday night at Laker Fieldhouse.

The WVC win came in a marquee matchup for the GRAC, with both teams nationally-ranked in their respective NJCAA divisions – the Lady Warriors ranked 15th in Division I and Lake Land ranked sixth in Division II. Wabash Valley, with a sweep of the regular-season series, improved to 12-0 in the league (20-2 overall), while the Lakers fell two games off the pace, at 10-2 (22-3 overall).

Lake Land jumped out to a 10-5 lead over a cold-shooting Lady Warrior team by the end of the first quarter. At that point, WVC instantly flipped a switch with a 17-2 run to start the second quarter, to overhaul the Lakers and gain a lead it would never relinquish. But the margin stayed in single-digits until a late spurt accounted for the final Lady Warrior victory margin of 13 points.

"We just had to keep playing hard and running our stuff. We were getting good shots, some just weren't falling," said Lady Warrior coach Lacey Shalenko of the sluggish start. "Sometimes it's not pretty, but you just have to grind it out and find a way to win."

Jazmyn Turner, a 6-foot-2 freshman from Marion, IN was one rebound away from a double-double and three blocked shots away from a triple, to go with her team-high total of 18 points. "She was really finishing around the rim and gave us something," Shalenko said.

Moe Pruitt, a 6-foot sophomore from Homewood, did end up with a double, with matching totals of 10 points and 10 boards. Also scoring in double digits were: Keya Patton (5-6 sophomore from Indianapolis) with 16 points, and K.K. White (6-foot sophomore from Indianapolis) with 14.

Lake Land's Casey Fearday (freshman guard from Effingham) was a thorn in the side of the Lady Warriors all night. She put up a game-high total of 25 points for the Lakers, who play next on Saturday at John A. Logan.

WVC doesn't return to Spencer Sports Center for another nine days. The Lady Warriors have games at Shawnee on Saturday (1pm) and at Lincoln Trail on Feb. 12 (Wed.) before hosting John A. Logan on Feb. 15 (Sat.)

The win extended the Lady Warriors record GRAC winning streak to 64 games.