ROCKFORD, Ill. - The Rockford University women's basketball team (1-6) took to the court on Tuesday night when it hosted Maranatha Baptist University (1-4). The game would be tightly contested as it would feature 8 lead changes and 5 ties. The Regents would put together a great fourth quarter on both sides of the ball to regain the lead and sneak away with a 57-54 victory. A huge factor for Rockford was its tremendous bench play. RU outscored the Maranatha bench 28-13 on the night. The Regents dug deep in this contest to come away with its first win of the 2017-18 season.
The first quarter looked promising for the Regents as Katie Hart (Davis Junction, Ill.) opened the game scoring the first 4 points of the night. However, the Sabercats would find some life as MBU would go on a 14-1 run with 2:40 left in the first quarter. Junior Nicole Silvers (Byron, Ill.) found her shot knocking down back-to-back three-point jumpers for Rockford to cut into the Sabercat lead. RU would find itself trailing at the end of the first quarter 18-11. The start of the second quarter was much more of a defensive battle for the two teams. Maranatha would score two free-throws in the middle of the quarter before Rockford would go on an 8-0 run to bring the deficit to within one. The RU run featured threes from Silver and Phyllis Woodard (Rockford, Ill.). Defensively, Rockford shut down Maranatha as it outscored MBU 14-5 in the second quarter giving the Regents a 25-23 lead at halftime. Rockford shot 37.0% from the floor in the first half compared to Maranatha's 25.8%. A big difference was the Regents ability to hit shots from beyond the arc, shooting 44% compared to the Sabercats 18.2%. Nicole Silvers would lead the Regents at half scoring 11 points while shooting 3-of-4 from deep.
The tide shifted at the start of the third quarter as MBU went on 14-3 run which gave the Sabercats the lead with 5:39 remaining in the quarter. Freshman Neve Yerk (Belvidere, Ill.) would make a three to help regain some momentum. Silvers would come down the court on the next possession to pull up for a mid-range jumper to trail Maranatha 37-35 with 3:50 left. However, the Sabercats would go on a 5-0 run to end the third quarter. MBU would outscore Rockford 20-10 during the third. The fourth quarter would go much better for RU as it finally found its offense. Maranatha would find itself up 49-38 before Rockford strung together a 13-2 run. The run started with freshman Kaylynne Terry (Streator, Ill.) making her presence known in the paint scoring back-to-back shots. Senior Virginia Reed (Rockford, Ill.) would contribute as she knocked down a jumper and proceeded to take a charge which continued to shift the momentum. Fellow senior Casey Pettit (Rockford, Ill.) would utilize free-throws to score four straight points during the run. Rockford would find itself up 53-51 with just 2:16 left in the game. Maranatha would steal the ball and come down the floor to take the lead 54-53. The Regents would answer as Pettit would drive at the defense and find Linzy Keller (Rockford, Ill.) for the go-ahead layup with 59 seconds to play. The Rockford defense would come up big as Tajanae Key (Glendale Heights, Ill.) would steal a pass to foil any attempt for the Sabercats. MBU would be forced to foul, but Silvers would knock down both of her free-throws to put away the game with a final score of 57-54. Despite Rockford getting outshot in the second half 32.3% compared to Maranatha's 48.1%, RU still managed to come away victorious.
Rockford had a bevy of players score during its win on Tuesday night. The Regents had 13-of-14 players who saw time on the court score during the game. Nicole Silvers led the way with 15 points shooting 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. Silvers also recorded 4 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 steals. Katie Hart chalked up 8 points, 2 rebounds and an assist. Kaylynne Terry came off the bench tallying 6 points and 4 rebounds. Casey Pettit also came off the bench scoring 6 points by going 6-of-6 from the line. Tajanae Key contributed a team-high in rebounds (6), steals (6) and assists (5).
The Rockford University women's basketball team returns to the court Saturday December 16 when it hosts Concordia Wisconsin. Tip-off is set for 4:15 PM.