NCC 69- ILLINOIS WESLEYAN 102
As I feared, we totally ran out of gas in our rematch with Illinois Wesleyan. After getting down early 24-11, we went on a great run and took the lead 29-28 midway through the first half, but with several players going back-to-back we had little left in the tank. Down 48-34 at the half, we were within striking distance, but IWU began slicing through our defense as if practicing a layup drill and players had neither the energy nor the focus to fight back. With about ten minutes to go and down 27, Michelle reluctantly had to throw in the towel and we fell back into a zone the rest of the way.
As you can see by the numbers, this was not a System game. 74 shots may be our season low, due in part to IWU's excellent switching man-to-man defense, and to our 26 mostly unforced turnovers. The real story, once again, was our lackluster effort on the boards, with only 20% ORBs compared to IWU's 48%.
This is especially disappointing following on the heels of our best overall game of the year last Saturday night. Michelle and I are hopeful we can pull together for the last three games of the season, all against teams we beat in the first round of conference play, but much will depend on getting some of our depth and energy back.
The lesson here, once again, is how critical effort is to success in the System. As Vince Lombardi said, "Fatigue makes cowards of us all!" and without sufficient depth last night, we were pretty fatigued.