Women’s basketball opens conference play

Rachel Story led the Flames with 23 points Saturday.

Rachel Story led the Flames with 23 points Saturday. Photo: Steve Woltmann

The women’s basketball team opens Horizon League play tonight, hosting Cleveland State at 4:30 p.m. at the UIC Pavilion.

The Flames (4-9) dropped their final nonconference game of the season against Butler (9-6) Saturday, 84-61, at the UIC Pavilion.

Junior Rachel Story led the Flames with 23 points, her fourth 20-point performance of the year. Story shot 8-of-15 from the floor and dished out five assists.

“We gave up too many baskets in transition,” head coach Regina Miller said.  “We focus a lot of practice time on transition defense and unfortunately that did not show today.

“We need more consistent scoring and more of a post presence from game-to-game.  I thought we lost the game because of our defense, but we didn’t do ourselves any favors on offense either.”

Butler pulled ahead early in the game until UIC went on a 10-0 run to cut the lead to18-14 with less than nine minutes left in the half.

Butler answered with a 17-2 offensive spurt to build its largest lead of the first half, 35-16. The Flames cut the Bulldog advantage down to eight points (40-32) at halftime, spurred by three-pointers from freshman Terri Bender and junior Emily Kobel.

The Bulldogs came out quick to start the second half and built a 49-34 lead within the first two minutes.  UIC regrouped to score 13 of the next 15 points, including seven from Story.

But the Flames gave up 33 points in the final 12 minutes in the loss.

UIC falls at Indiana
The Flames outscored Indiana in the second half, but were defeated, 81-59, on the road Dec. 31.

Redshirt junior Katie Hannemann led the team with a career high 20 points on 9-of-18 shooting.

“I was proud of the way we competed in the second half,” Miller said. “You can’t give up a big lead to a Big Ten opponent and expect to come back, but we never stopped fighting.”

Kobel scored 11 points and freshman Caitlin Garant added 10.  Senior Taylor Foulks paced the Flames in rebounding with nine.

Team celebrates victories at home
The Flames won two games in front of the home crowd last month, against Western Michigan, 66-58, Dec. 28 and Northern Illinois, 66-61, Dec. 22.

The Flames began the second half against Western Michigan with a 24-6 run after trailing by one point heading into the break.  Bender and Story led UIC with 16 points each. Kobel added 13 points, going 3-of-5 from behind the arc.

The team beat Northern Illinois in overtime.

Story led all players with 23 points, including seven of the Flames’ nine overtime points.  Kobel chipped in 15 points Hannemann added 12.

“We fought our way back after getting down early,” Miller said. “Our second half was night and day better than the first and so we need to continue to try and put together a full 40 minutes.”

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