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No. 2 Davenport Downs No. 1 Northwestern in Battle of NAIA's Top-Ranked Teams

December 30, 2010

Dec. 30, 2010

 

Story courtesy of Davenport Sports Information

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – In a mid-season No. 1-vs. - No. 2 matchup, it was the host Lady Panthers who used a late first half surge to push them past top-ranked Northwestern (Iowa) on Dec. 29. Davenport (Mich.) defeated the Red Raiders 89-80 in front of the biggest crowd ever to see a women’s game in the DU Student Center. The win lifts DU to a perfect 16-0 record, while the Red Raiders were dealt their first loss of the season and ended their 18-game winning streak dating back to 2009-10.

Jeannie Closson and Kallie Benike each posted double-doubles as Closson went for 23 points and 10 rebounds and Benike finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds in the victory. Kristi Boehm was the only other Lady Panther to finish in double-digits as the senior accumulated 12 points, seven assists and three steals on Wednesday.

The opening 13:41 of the game was a see-saw battle that saw five ties and four lead changes. Northwestern held their largest lead of the game at three points (23-20) with 9:53 after a layup from NAIA All-American Becca Hurley. DU scored nine of the next 15 points to tie the score at 29 with 6:19 to play in the opening half.

For the remainder of the first half, DU went on a tear and used two runs of 7-0 to finish the half up 49-38. The first run was highlighted by a deep three-pointer from Jeannie Closson and the second featured four points from All-American Kallie Benike. A late long ball from the Red Raiders brought the score to 49-38 at the break in favor of Davenport.

Both teams were relatively cool from the field in the opening 20 minutes as Northwestern held a 39 percent to 37 percent advantage. Each team made 15 shots from the floor but DU posted two more from behind the arc and was 13-14 from the charity stripe.

Davenport came out of the locker room blazing from the floor as they increased the lead to 18 in just 2:34. The Lady Panthers got four points from Closson and Benike during the run and the lead was the largest of the game for the home team.

Northwestern, who had not lost since an 81-70 setback to then-No. 1 Hastings (Neb.) on Feb. 13, 2010, came back fighting and got the lead down to single digits at 63-54 over the next three minutes. The lead would hover right around that mark and although the Red Raiders got to within eight on a layup from Kendra De Jong with 11:56 to play, the Lady Panthers were too much to overcome.

Davenport’s senior combination of Benike, Boehm and Closson then scored seven straight points to push the lead back to 15 and DU would never look back eventually winning 89-80. DU converted on 17-of-36 shots from the field (47 percent) in the second half while limiting the Raiders to 36 percent shooting.

For the game, Northwestern outrebounded the Lady Panthers 51-41 as Red Raider sophomore Kendra De Jong posted 17 rebounds to go along with her 19 points. Northwestern senior Becca Hurley finished with a team high 20 points but was just 5-19 from the floor and 1-10 from behind the arc.

Davenport finished the game shooting 42.1 percent (32-76) from the field, but it was their 19-of-22 performance from the free-throw line that was most impressive.

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