MILWAUKEE, Wis. - The Rockford University women's basketball team (0-6, 0-4 NACC) played its best game of the season on Saturday against the MSOE Raiders (3-3, 2-2 NACC). Rockford played really well in the opening 20 minutes of the game, especially the first quarter as the Regents led for the majority of the first half. However, things took a turn for the worse in the second half when MSOE outscored the Regents 20-7 in the third quarter to take control of the game. The Regents were never able to recover over the final 10 minutes and fell by a final score of 68-51. While the game was a statistical dead heat in nearly every category, MSOE was able to separate themselves in two key areas, which was ultimately the difference in the game. The Raiders did a good job generating easy points as they held commanding leads in both points in the paint and fast break points. MSOE outscored Rockford 30-16 in the paint and 16-0 on fast breaks to finish a combined +30 in those two areas.
Rockford played extremely well in the first quarter as the Regents trailed for just 32 seconds the entire period. Following a quick bucket by the Raiders, Rockford responded with back-to-back baskets by Katie Hart (Davis Junction, Ill.) and Neve Yerk (Belvidere, Ill.) to take a 5-2 lead. The Regents would extend their lead to as many as 6 points midway through the period after a bucket by Linzy Keller (Rockford, Ill.). The Raiders were never able to significantly cut into the RU lead as Rockford took a 16-12 advantage into the second quarter.
The second quarter was a bit of a back-and-forth affair as there were a total of five lead changes. MSOE retook the lead in the opening moments of the quarter with a 7-2 run. The Raiders did the majority of their damage at the free throw line during that span as they connected on five free throws in less than a minute. However Rockford answered right back with a 5-0 run of its own led by three points from senior Katie Hart to retake the lead at 23-19. However Rockford would once again relinquish the lead as the game continued to go back-and-forth over the final few minutes of the half. Perhaps one of the biggest plays of the quarter came in the final seconds when Katlyn Fiorucci (Machesney Park, Ill.) hit a layup at the buzzer to send the game into the half tied at 32-32.
Unfortunately Rockford's momentum did not carry over into the second half as MSOE began to take control of the game in the third quarter. The Raiders opened the period on a 13-2 run to take at the time a game-high 11-point lead. Rockford was however able to chop the Raider advantage back down to single digits on multiple occasions thanks in large part to the outstanding shooting of junior Nicole Silvers (Byron, Ill.). Silvers hit back-to-back shots, including a 3-pointer, in the waning moments of the third period as Rockford crept back to within 8 at 47-39. However, the Raiders would close the period with a 5-0 run to take a 52-39 lead into the fourth. Things did not go well for Rockford in the final period as MSOE extended its lead to as many as 20 points before ultimately settling for a 68-51 victory.
The Regents had four players score at least five points on Saturday. Nicole Silvers played perhaps her best game in a Regent uniform finishing with an RU career-high 19 points. Silvers was on fire all game long, draining 50% of her shots from the floor including converting on 60% of her attempts from beyond the arc and going a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line. She rounded out her stat line with 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 rebound. Senior Katie Hart also had an outstanding game on Saturday, finishing with a career-high 11 points. Hart also had 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. Linzy Keller added 8 points and 1 rebound, while Katlyn Fiorucci finished with 5 points, 2 rebounds and 1 steal off the bench.
The RU women's basketball team returns home on Tuesday, December 12 to face Maranatha Baptist University. Tip-off is set for 7:00 PM in the Seaver Center.