ROCKFORD, Ill. - The Rockford University women's basketball team (5-14, 3-11 NACC) hosted the Dominican University Stars (9-10, 5-9 NACC) on Saturday evening. Neither team would surrender as the game went down to the final wire. The Regents were able to oust the Stars due to crucial shots from the free throw line to secure the win. Rockford shot exceptionally well from the charity stripe knocking down 19-of-25 attempts. Three RU players went 100% from the line on the day to lift the Regents over DU.
The Regents could not get a whole lot going offensively in the first quarter, but RU was able to play defense to keep the game within striking distance. Nicole Silvers (Byron, Ill.) led the Regents in the first quarter scoring 5 of Rockford's 9 points, including a three-pointer assisted by Linzy Keller (Rockford, Ill.). Rockford would be outscored in the first quarter 12-9. In the second quarter Rockford would remain persistent in not letting DU pull away. The two teams would exchange buckets, but Rockford could not find a way to take a lead. Dominican would find itself up 25-17 before Silvers would hit again from three with just 1:30 remaining in the quarter. However, the Stars would come down to also hit a three on its ensuing possession. Fortunately following the Dominican three Keller would come down the court to hit from beyond the arc to bring the game back to within five. The Regents would go into the half trailing the Stars 28-23. Despite trailing Rockford would outshoot DU in the first half 30.3% to 27.3%. Nicole Silvers would lead all scorers at the half with 10 points.
Rockford would come out roaring in the third quarter as it opened with a 10-2 run to take the lead 33-30 with 7:36 left in the quarter. The run would be put together by the Regents playing good defense, forcing turnovers and converting off the DU mistakes. Unfortunately, Dominican would be able to piece together a 9-2 run of its own to regain the lead at 39-35 with 5:19 to go in the third. Rockford's Katie Hart (Davis Junction, Ill.) would capitalize on both of her shots from the line on back-to-back possessions to give the Regents a 42-41 lead with 3:37 left. Rockford would have control of the lead before DU would hit a three with 27 seconds left in the quarter to get back in the driver seat up 51-49. The Regents would outscore the Stars 26-24 in the quarter despite RU trailing going into the final quarter 52-49.
The fourth quarter would turn into a high defensive battle to determine the winner of the contest. Nicole Silvers would continue her impressive day as she knocked down a mid-range jump shot to give Rockford the lead at 57-56 with 6:05 remaining in the game. On the ensuing Regent possession freshman Neve Yerk (Belvidere, Ill.) would come down the court capitalizing on her layup to give Rockford a three-point lead. RU would continue to build on its lead as Tajanae Key (Glendale Heights, Ill.) would come down with a rebound off of a miss rebound and then find Linzy Keller for the layup to give Rockford a 61-56 lead with 2:45 to play. Dominican would come back to go 2-for-2 from the line on back-to-back possessions bringing the game to within one with 1:23 remaining. Linzy Keller would then get fouled sending her to the line in which she converted on both. DU elected to foul with 37 seconds left sending Nicole Silvers to the charity stripe where she capitalized on both of her chances bringing the Rockford lead to 65-60. The Stars would not go down without a fight as it came right back hitting a three-pointer to cut the lead to two. Silvers would again be forced to the line and as she had done all game converted on both of her free throws. It would be the same story as Dominican would again come down and hit a three bringing it to within one and again sending Silvers to the free throw line where she made both. Silvers had ice in her veins as she went an astounding 10-for-10 from the free throw line on the day. DU would still have a chance as it trailed by three with just 19 seconds to play. Rockford rotated well on defense and got to the shooter forcing a contested shot in which Key was able to come up with the rebound as the Stars were then forced to foul her. Key followed it up by sinking a clutch free throw to give the Regents a four-point lead and securing a 70-66 victory.
There were three Rockford players to record double-digit figures on the day. Junior Nicole Silvers led all scorers while tallying a career-high 29 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Katie Hart played exceptionally well as she recorded her first career double-double with 12 points, 11 rebounds, 3 steals and an assist. Linzy Keller came off the bench to register 10 points, 4 rebounds, a steal and an assist. Tajanae Key was one-point shy of a double-double as she chalked up 13 rebounds, 9 points and 2 assists.
The Rockford University women's basketball team returns to action when it travels to Benedictine on Tuesday, January 30. Tip-off is set for 7 PM.