UW-Parkside moves to Sweet 16
Rangers hit nearly 50 percent from floor to edge by Hawks
HOUGHTON, Mich. – The third-seeded Wisconsin-Parkside Rangers didn’t start their NCAA Midwest Regional semifinal game against the No. 16 Quincy Hawks as impressively as their quarterfinal matchup with the Missouri S&T Miners, but that didn’t matter as they shot 49.1 percent to stun the Hawks 73-62 on Saturday. Center Brittany Hogen and forward Brittany Beyer both had big days for the Rangers, scoring 19 and 20 points, respectively.
“The biggest thing we brought was a lot of confidence,” said Rangers head coach Jenny Kenesie. “If you want to beat a team like [Quincy], you have to slow them up and make them feel uncomfortable.”
The Hawks struck first, jumping out to a 10-0 lead thanks in part to a jumper from forward Courtney Shuman and a pair of buckets from forward Ali Schwagmeyer. Hogen finally got the Rangers on the board about four minutes in, scoring five straight points to kick-start the Rangers’ offense.
“Let’s just say right now, the pain is nothing,” said Hogen, when asked about how she felt after missing the majority of the quarterfinal game with an injury. “Every single one of us came out and we gave it our all. I was not about to let my injury keep off the floor today.”
The Hawks (26-4) saw their early advantage dissipate until the Rangers (24-6) jumped ahead with just under nine minutes left in the opening half.
“I think it’s always kind of nerve-wracking when you are up, and they start coming back slowly and slowly,” said Courtney Shuman. “Our intensity kind of dropped a little bit, and we let them back in and that’s something we can’t do in a big game like this.”
During the Rangers’ push, Schwagmeyer got into foul trouble, forcing Hawks head coach J.D. Gravina to pull her off the floor. The Rangers took advantage of the void, pushing their lead to eight, 37-29, before the half.
“Parkside’s starting five were just awfully tough,” Gravina said. “They got baskets and stops when they needed it. I felt like we hung around, but could never get past that five or seven-point mark.”
In the second half, the Hawks cut the Rangers’ lead to four, 45-41 after guard Stephanie Wagner hit a clutch 3-pointer. Unfortunately, the Hawks couldn’t build off that momentum, missing each of their next three 3-point attempts. The Rangers took advantage of the Hawks’ cold shooting, and a pair of layups from guard Jadee Rooney to push their advantage to 55-45.
A 3-pointer from Wagner and four points from Courtney Shuman pulled the Hawks back within five, 61-56, with 6:46 left in the second half. That was as close as the Hawks would get as a jumper from Beyer and a layup from Hogen helped the Rangers regain a nine-point lead, 67-58, with just 1:57 remaining.
With the victory, the second by the Rangers over the Hawks in less than four weeks, the Rangers advance to Monday’s Regional Championship against either top-seeded Michigan Tech or fifth-seeded Drury.