MIFFLIN — The undefeated Iowa–Grant girls basketball team is still a work in progress, but the Panthers are finding ways to win early in the season.
On Friday, Dec. 2, the Panthers outscored Boscobel 40–19 in the second half to rally from an 11-point halftime deficit to open SWAL conference play with a 70–60 victory.
Coach Craig Jenkins’ team followed a similar script in a 43–37 victory over Fennimore last Thursday night to improve to 4–0 overall and 2–0 in the SWAL. The Panthers outscored the Golden Eagles 24–13 in the second half to dig out of a five-point halftime hole.
“We found a way to win a very physical game and there are going to be physical games like that in the SWAL,” said Jenkins. “To get a road win like that was a big thing for this team. I’m very proud of them.”
High-scoring freshman sensation Olivia Liddicoat, who entered the game averaging 25.3 points per game after a 33-point outburst in the win over Boscobel, scored nine points of her 11 points in the first half, but Iowa–Grant still trailed 24–19 at the break.
Sophomore Amber Udelhoven scored 10 of her team-high 12 points in the first half and senior Macy Gunderson scored all eight of her points in the first 18 minutes for winless Fennimore (0–6, 0–2).
With the Eagles’ defense effort focused squarely on the young Liddicoat, senior guard Emma Liddicoat stepped up in the second half. She made a free throw, a layup and a 3-pointer to ignite a 16–2 Iowa–Grant run.
Seniors Kassidy Schroeder and Jaynie Rule, and junior Carly Rider also had baskets in the run as the Panthers built a 35–26 lead with just over seven minutes left in the game.
“Scoring in the half court was a real struggle for us in this one,” said Jenkins. “But we finally got a few shots to go down and were able to set up in our full court press. Our pressure was able to force some turnovers and we were able to score on three straight possessions.”
But Fennimore battle back to tie the game at 37–37 with 2:30 left on a basket by 6-foot senior center Angie Maag.
Emma Liddicoat drew a foul on the Panthers’ next possession and converted both free throws. Then after a Fennimore miss, I–G went in to a four corners spread offense to run clock.
Fennimore was forced to foul and Emma Liddicoat made four more free throws in the final minute to close out the win. Liddicoat made 7 of 11 from the line in the game, but all six in the final three minutes. She finished with a game-high 20 points, 16 in the second half.
“We always want our seniors to have the ball in their hands down the stretch,” said Jenkins. “Emma is a four-year varsity point guard and we definitely trust her with the ball in her hands. She is making very sound decisions and stepping up at critical times for us.”
Emma Liddicoat scored 16 of her 23 points in the second half of Iowa–Grant’s comeback against Boscobel on Dec. 2.
Olivia Liddicoat made 13 of 15 free throw attempts en route to her career-high 33 points.
Senior Maddie Harmening added six points for the winners, including a perfect 4 for 4 at the line in the closing minutes.
Boscobel (1–2, 0–1 SWAL) jumped out to a 41–30 halftime lead making five 3-pointers.
“The must have shot 60 or 65 percent in the first half,” said Jenkins. “They were just on fire. No matter what we did on defense they executed and made shots. It wasn’t that we played poorly in that first half, they just played that well.”
Jenkins said Iowa–Grant turned the tide in the second half with its full court press and 1–3–1 half court trap.
“Honestly, I think we wore them out,” added Jenkins. “We we can force turnovers in bunches and turn them into offense that’s our strong suit.”
Iowa–Grant traveled to Dodgeville for a non-conference game at Dodgeville on Tuesday and will return to action with a home game against defending SWAL and WIAA Division 4 state champion Mineral Point (5–0, 2–0 SWAL) Saturday at 3 p.m. I–G will travel to Cuba City on Tuesday.
Iowa-Grant 70, Boscobel 60
(from Friday, Dec. 2 @ Iowa–Grant)
Boscobel 41 19 — 60
Iowa–Grant 30 40 — 70
Boscobel (1–2, 0–1) — Johnson 5, Davis 13, Bray 8, Ernst 5, Fischer 6, Walker 15, Knowles 8. Totals – 22 12-22 60.
Iowa–Grant (3–0, 1–0) — Olivia Liddicoat 33, Kassidy Schroeder 2, Maddie Harmening 6, Emma Liddicoat 23, Sydney Lundell 1, Carley Rider 3, Jaynie Rule 2. Totals – 21 24-35 70.
3-point goals — B: 4 (Walker 2, Davis 1, Ernst 1); IG: 4 (O. Liddicoat 2, E. Liddicoat 2). Total fouls — B: 24, IG: 17. Fouled out — none.
Iowa-Grant 43, Fennimore 37
(from Thursday, Dec. 8 @ Iowa–Grant)
Fennimore 24 13 — 37
Iowa–Grant 19 24 — 43
Iowa–Grant (4–0, 2–0) — Olivia Liddicoat 11, Kassidy Schroeder 2, Maddie Harmening 6, Emma Liddicoat 20, Carley Rider 2, Jaynie Rule 2. Totals – 15-55 12-21 43.
Fennimore (0–6, 0–2) — Faulkkner 2, Kruel 5, Gunderson 8, Udelhoven 12, Maag 8. Totals – 18 1-2 37.
3-point goals — IG: 1 (E. Liddicoat 1); F: 0. Total fouls — IG: 9; F: 20. Fouled out — none