Dominant 2nd Half propels Women's Basketball over Illinois Tech

Crusaders outscored IIT by 20 in the 2nd half on Saturday.
Crusaders outscored IIT by 20 in the 2nd half on Saturday.

(Photo Courtesy of anthonymazur@amnewsnet.com)

CHICAGO, Ill. – The University of Dallas women's basketball team orchestrated a 20-point second half advantage to pull away to a 70-42 road victory at Illinois Tech on Saturday. The Crusaders led in most of the statistical categories as they matched a season-high in scoring to improve to 2-1 overall and 1-1 on the current road trip.

Michelle DeCoud (Monument, Colo.) garnered game-highs in points (20) and rebounds (11) to boast season-bests in her first double-double through three contests this campaign. The forward etched all her points from the floor going 10-for-18 (55.6 %) Olivia Severson (La Crosse, Wis.) contributed a personal-high in scoring 11 points) and had a trio of three-pointers. Jules Oliveti (Southlake, Texas) pulled down a season-high 10 boards and added eight points.

UD shot its best mark of the season so far with a 38.5 field goal percentage. The team committed seven fewer turnovers (26-19) and utilized a 30-13 edge in points off miscues. Dallas also benefited from a 21-7 edge in second chance points and 22-11 difference in points from the bench. Dallas won the battle on the boards by 18 (56-38). This included 27 total offensive rebounds.

HOW IT HAPPENED

The Crusaders scored the first seven points in the game to gain an early lead. DeCoud scored a quick layup seconds after UD won the jump ball, and then Severson drained a three-pointer a minute and a half later. Francesca Weisbruch (Temple, Texas) capped the early scoring streak with a layup two minutes into action.

Illinois Tech countered with seven of the next nine points to cut the margin back to one possession with halfway to go in the first quarter. Another trey by Severson stretched the advantage back to five, and the Crusaders pushed the margin to their largest at the time 18-10 on a layup by Weisbruch.

A three with 28 seconds left by Madison Davis closed the first frame with Dallas up 18-13.

Neither team could find the bottom of the net through two and a half minutes in the next quarter. A three by Kaylee Wicka nipped the IIT deficit to 18-17, but then Severson countered with a layup at 7:24. Davis narrowed the gap 22-20 on a trifecta with just over halfway remaining until intermission. Two minutes later, Oliveti had an inside basket, but Davis sank another field goal from downtown to make it a one-point game with exactly three minutes. An 8-1 run over the remaining stretch lifted the Crusaders to a 32-24 halftime edge. Celsi Caraway (Arlington, Texas) drained a pair of three-pointers with less than a minute, including the final shot with three seconds.

The road squad carried the late second quarter momentum throughout the rest of the game. The next 10 minutes saw the Crusaders go on a 17-5 run to cushion their lead to 20 points. Overall in the second half, Dallas outscored the Scarlett Hawks 38-18.

DeCoud scored two quick baskets to put her team up double-digits for the first time on the afternoon. After two minutes without any points, Helen Onyenso (Oak Park, Ill.) split at the free throw line to make it 37-25, and then IIT's Shannon O'Donnell hit the first field goal for the Scarlett Hawks seconds later to reduce the margin back to 10.

That was as close of a threat that the Crusaders faced, as Oliveti started a 12-2 run the last 5:47 minutes with a layup. O'Donnell had the only points in that span for the Scarlett Hawks at 2:15. Onyenso, Shelby Waldron (Bannings, Calif.), Weisbruch, and DeCoud combined for the next eight points to make it 49-29.

The final quarter resulted in the highest amount of points for Dallas in a single stanza with 21. Teams exchanged points the first two minutes before DeCoud dropped in a layup to put the leading scorer's team up by more than 20 the rest of regulation (53-32). That field goal by the senior started a streak of 10 points in a row to make it 61-32.

O'Donnell drilled a trey at 5:14 to end the consecutive scoring stretch for UD.

The Crusaders eclipsed a 30-point advantage that included boasting their greatest lead of 32 (68-36) with 2:53 left after Weisbruch picked a steal and finished the fastbreak on a layup.

The freshman guard was the only UD player with multiple steals and snatched five. She tied Onyenso for third on the team with nine points each. Onyenso netted her entire total in the second half. She also finished third on the team in rebounds with seven. Six were grabbed from the offensive glass.

Illinois Tech shot 23.6 percent from the floor and hit seven three-pointers. Davis had 12 of her team-high 14 points from distance. O'Donnell chipped in 13 points.

TIP-INS

At 3:24 left in the third quarter, DeCoud swatted a block for her 100th of her career. Last season's leader in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) is only the second player the program to eclipse the century mark for blocked shots.

DeCoud also notched her 400th made field goal of her career. She now ranks 8th all-time in the program as she becomes the latest to achieve that milestone marker. Starting the campaign 10th, the forward passed Marleyna Bustamante and Christy Allen. 

Twice last season the Crusaders surpassed 50 rebounds, which happened in consecutive games. The first was 53 on December 1st versus Southwestern Adventist University. The next moment was 51 at Dallas Christian College (Dec. 7th). The most recent time Dallas tallied at least as many as Saturday's total was two seasons ago on January 16th, 2016, with 63 at Dallas Christian. The overall total was only nine shy of the single-game team record (65) set against Stephens on February 16th, 2002.

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UP NEXT

Dallas heads to Concordia Chicago to wrap up the road trip. First tip on Sunday is scheduled for 2 p.m.