Grenadiers fall to Cliff in first round

IUS Horizon

The women’s basketball team was happy to get to Sioux City, Iowa.

The Grenadiers had visions of making it far in this year’s basketball tournament — but so did their first round opponent, Briar Cliff University.

The Chargers promptly ended IU Southeast’s season with a 71-57 victory on March 9 at the Tyson Events Center.

“I’m not upset,” Bernie Merkel, IUS assistant coach, said. “I’m just disappointed.”

The Grenadiers had a few disadvantages before the game was played.

Leading scorer Ashmere Woods, sophomore guard, suffered a swollen right eye from a teammate’s elbow during practice.

Whitney Duncan, senior guard, had a tragedy in her family and took the court with a heavy heart.

Briar Cliff literally had a home-court advantage because their campus was less than four miles from the Tyson Events Center.

Both teams were a bit nervous at the beginning of the game.

Shots were flat with some barely grazing the rim.

The Chargers found their offense first and took a 16-10 lead at the 12-minute mark.

The Grenadiers were able to keep the game close before the Chargers switched their defense.

The complexion of the game turned when the Chargers began to full-court press the Grenadiers. The press forced the Grenadiers into several turnovers.

IU Southeast would have trouble navigating through the press for the remainder of the game. This seemed to bother head coach Robin Farris.

In a gesture a few days prior to the game, Farris exchanged game film with Chargers’ head coach Mike Power so each team could prepare for one another.

“We knew they were going to press,” Farris said. “We worked on breaking it several times during practice, but we just didn’t execute.”

Despite her vision struggles, Woods led IU Southeast with 10 points at the break, but the Grenadiers trailed the Chargers, 37-26.

The Grenadiers opened up the second half on a scoring drought.

They managed to score just 1 point in the first five minutes while the Chargers kept their lead at double digits.

To make matters worse, the Grenadiers lost Lauren Brim, senior guard, for the rest of the game due to a reoccurring shoulder injury.

Despite their odds, the Grenadiers would continue fighting.

Nicole Holman, senior guard, hit a 3-pointer and a baseline jumper to keep IU Southeast in the game.

The Grenadiers were able to cut the lead to 8 points, but a couple of turnovers down the stretch halted their chances for good.

Alden Krausse, senior forward, led the Grenadiers with 14 points in her final collegiate game.

“We had a fantastic season and set a school record for wins,” Farris said.

Farris said he was proud of his team.

“I’m a little disappointed,” Farris said, “but I’m not going to let the outcome damper what this team accomplished this year.”

IU Southeast defeated Alice Lloyd College on Feb. 26, 72-58, for their third-straight Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship.

The Grenadiers ended their 2010-11 season by setting an IUS record for 27 wins in one season and the record for having the longest winning streak with 16 games.