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UW-Parkside 64, Lake Superior State 55

UWP women back in win column

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BASKETBALL UW PARKSIDE WOMEN

The UW-Parkside women’s basketball team’s bench celebrates a 3-point basket during a game earlier this season. The Rangers notched a 64-55 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference win over Lake Superior State in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., on Saturday.

After yielding too much Thursday in a blowout loss at Ferris State, UW-Parkside women’s basketball coach Jen Conely challenged the Rangers to play better defense Saturday.

They responded.

Parkside snapped a two-game losing streak by getting stingy on defense in a 64-55 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference win over Lake Superior State in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

The Rangers held the Lakers to 41.2 percent (21-of-51) from the field just two days after Ferris State shot 52.9 percent, a number that was even skewed down since that game was decided by the fourth quarter.

Saturday was a much different story.

“I thought it was a gritty performance (Saturday),” Conely said in a news release. “We bounced back from the loss on Thursday with great energy at practice (Friday). We really challenged our squad on the defensive end and are so proud of how we handled adversity.”

With the two-game road split, Parkside is 11-8 overall and 8-3 in the GLIAC. The Rangers are tied atop the GLIAC North Division with Ferris State, which also won Saturday to move to 8-3 in conference play.

Northern Michigan is two games back in third place at 6-5.

The Rangers return to the DeSimone Gymnasium on Thursday for a 5:30 p.m. game against Davenport. After that comes Saturday’s 1 p.m. home game against Grand Valley State, ranked No. 4 in the latest NCAA Division II coaches poll.

And while Saturday’s defensive performance was great, Conely knows the Rangers must perform better offensively than they did against the Lakers — Parkside shot 42.9 percent (24-of-56) from the field and had just seven assists to 16 turnovers — to continue winning in GLIAC play.

“Offensively, we did a good job attacking the basket, we just need to finish more consistently and be more efficient on our reads and in our screening action,” Conely said. “Overall, I’m proud of how we battled. We need to continue to get better and move forward together as we hit the middle of GLIAC play.”

Sophomore guard Maddy Harrison was plenty efficient Saturday, as she went 7-of-9 from the field for a team-high 16 points. She also led the team with six rebounds and grabbed four steals.

Senior wing Carolina Rahkonen scored 14 points, while redshirt senior guard Taylor Stephen had nine points and four boards.

The Rangers never trailed, pushing their lead to 17-8 within the game’s first 5 minutes, 30 seconds.

They led 38-28 at halftime, and the lead never dropped below seven in the second half and got as large as 15.

Mike Johnson

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