By Josh Rasmussen
The Lady Cards took it to Colorado Northwestern for Sophomore Night in Christianson Gymnasium Feb. 17, blasting the Spartans 90-61 for NIC’s final home game of the season.
The 29-point victory came after a hard-fought game with plenty of twists and turns. Due to a starting lineup error, Colorado got to shoot a pair of free throws before the game even started. In addition, they added the first points after the tip-off to go up 5-0.
Sophmore guard Marney Lee started her final home game as a Lady Cardinal with a three-pointer to kick NIC’s goose egg off the board. Both teams battled to drive their scores up and it wasn’t until just over six minutes into the game when none-other-than Lee, drained the second of her two 3-pointers to tie the game at 10.
The Lady Cards weren’t able to take the lead, but caught up for the second time three and a half minutes later when freshman guard Cassie Pilkinton made a layup, drew a foul and added a point from the free-throw line.
Breaking the 18-all tie was sophomore post Paige McGowan shooting one for two from the line.
NIC held Colorado’s score at 18 for six minutes and came together in a 14-point run. With just over four minutes left in the half, the Lady Cards’ were sitting pretty with a 13-point lead, 33-20.
The already-physical game heated up in the second half. Sophomore guard Kay Hill went down hard after being fouled under her own hoop, but snapped back to her feet and made a free throw.
Less than one minute later, Colorado’s Ashley Washburn went down near center court and stayed down. She was helped off the court.
With seven minutes and 47 seconds left in the game, Pilkinton sunk a pair of free throws to put the Lady Cards up by 21 points, 65-44. She shot eight-for-eight from the line on the night.
“Cassie Pilkinton had a great game,” said NIC head women's basketball coach Chris Carlson.
Pilkinton was NIC’s leading scorer on the night with 21 points. She contributed four steals and five rebounds as well.
McGowan finished her last game in Christianson Gymnasium with 12 rebounds, nine points and seven blocks.
“It’s nice to have Paige out there, you know, seven blocked shots,” Carlson said.
Hill went six for 10 from the field scoring 15 points. She added three steals, a block and four rebounds.
“Our sophomores came out firing and played tough defense and set the tone and got us back in the game,” Carlson said. “We rode that momentum all the way out.”
The win propelled the Lady Cards to an 11-5 SWAC record. NIC plays on the road for the rest of the season with the next games scheduled for Feb. 23-24 against SWAC opponent College of Eastern Utah (7-9 in the SWAC).