BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Carthage stunned No. 6 Illinois Wesleyan 63-55 on Saturday afternoon at the Shirk Center. The Lady Red victory, along with Elmhurst’s 70-68 loss in double-overtime to Augustana (Ill.), left Carthage alone in fourth place in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin standings. Carthage (14-5, 5-3 CCIW) also snapped a 10-game Titan winning streak that stretched back to Dec. 18.
Carthage jumped out to an 11-2 lead at 17:02 thanks to a pair of 3-pointers by Dani Ripkey and five points from Heather Gilmore. The Lady Reds made it 15-3 at 12:18 as the Titans (15-4, 7-1 CCIW) missed eight of their first nine field-goal attempts. The lead went to 19 points, 22-3, at 9:48. Still leading 25-6 at 7:54, Carthage saw its lead shrink to 11 points at 1:33 behind a surge from Illinois Wesleyan. Kristi Schmidt then nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it 28-14 at halftime in the visitor’s favor.
Carthage started out hot again in the second period, scoring the first two baskets to take a 32-14 lead at 18:56. Then the Titans scored 16 unanswered points to make it a two-point game at 32-30 with 14:55 to play. Illinois Wesleyan tied the game at 37-37 three minutes later before three consecutive 3s by Gilmore, Taylor Tondelli and Allison Groessl gave the Lady Reds a nine-point advantage at 46-37 with 9:29 to play. The Titans got no closer than six points the rest of the way, as Carthage went on to win by eight.
Carthage shot 52 percent (22-42), including nine-of-14 from 3-point range, while Illinois Wesleyan shot just 30 percent (19-of-63), including five-of-23 3-pointers and just 18 percent overall in the first period (5-28). The Lady Reds outrebounded the Titans 42-34.
Carthage’s Heather Gilmore scored a game-high 19 points on seven-of-nine field goals, including three-of-four from 3-point range. Diana Jacklin had 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Olivia Lett paced the Titans with 16 points and six rebounds, while Nikki Preston added 13 points and six boards.
“We shot the ball well,” said Carthage coach Tim Bernero,“ and you could see us gain confidence after a couple of shots went in. We played this one a little more like the game we won against them last year at Tarble Arena. We did a good job contesting everything, including the rebounds. We let them shoot the 3, so we knew there would be a lot of long rebounds.
“I felt like we had control most of the way, except obviously for the 16-0 run where we went blank and didn’t execute. After we got the nine-point lead on the three 3-pointers, that was sort of the tipping point.”