By Pilar Barrio-Sanchez

Lake Land women’s basketball defeated another team by more than 20 points for the third game in a row in beating Southwestern Illinois 82-42 on Saturday afternoon.

The Lakers (18-2), who are ranked No. 9 in the NJCAA II, have been a really successful team defensively this season, allowing only 51.4 points per game.

Against Southwestern Illinois, the Lakers were organized on defense, forcing them to have long possessions and to take forced shots away from the basket.

Southwestern also committed 19 turnovers and only six offensive rebounds. The Lakers, meanwhile, recorded 11 steals and grabbed 31 defensive rebounds.

In the third quarter, the Lakers even forced Southwestern to run out of the 24 seconds of possession without even getting inside the 3-point line. Southwestern ultimately had to force a shot in the last second that was blocked by Arie Sims.

“We have been really good defensively,” Lake Land coach Dave Johnson said. “Our kids have been understanding the game plan and really buying in what we are trying to take away from the other team offensively.”

Offensively, Lake Land is averaging 72.8 points per game and Carsyn Fearday is ranked fourth nationally in 3-point percentage.

Lake Land’s dynamic offense played comfortably on fast-breaks and in the half-court. They have versatile players who can do different things. Against Southwestern, 12 players scored.

Fearday had 10 points, four assists, three rebounds and one steal while Lucy Smith added 10 points, three assists and nine rebounds.

“Our depth has been really important as I feel comfortable playing all of our players,” Johnson said. “I think we have kids on the bench that probably will be starting at other schools, so we are fortunate to have that type of depth.” 

The Lakers showed their offensive prowess when they went on a 16-0 run, and powered to a 44-14 lead by halftime.

“Everybody has a tendency when you have a big lead to relax, so we focus on different things,” Johnson said. “At halftime, I gave them some things to focus on offensively and defensively.”

The Lakers are now 7-1 in the GRAC conference while Southwestern Illinois remains winless at 0-15 overall and 0-9 in the conference.

“We have to continue being who we are,” said Lake Land freshman Aubrey Barker. “It’s a matter of time until we meet a team as good as us or better than us, but I still think that we will be able to rise up to the opportunity.”

Lake Land next plays Lincoln Trail on Wednesday.