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March 2, 2014


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INDIANAPOLIS - It was a record setting performance for the Jaguars on Senior Night. Two nights after getting to 20 wins for the second straight season, the Jaguars beat Western Illinois for their 21st win of the season, a school record in the division-one era.
DeAirra Goss led the way for the Jaguars with 14 points, although it was a very balanced attack. Nevena Markovic scored 13 to go with 10 boards, her fourth double-double of the season. Shanika Maddox also scored 13 and was one rebound shy of a double-double.  Nicole Rogers added 12 on 4-5 shooting from behind the arc, putting her alone in fourth place for most 3-pointers made in a season by an IUPUI player.
The Summit League's leading scorer at over 20 per game, Ashley Luke, scored only 13 in addition to grabbing seven boards.
Before the game got underway, IUPUI's four seniors, Dee-Dee Bellamy, Goss, Dawn Luster and Katie Comello, were honored at mid-court with ceremonial basketballs, framed jerseys and an ovation from the crowd.
The mood didn't last long though as the Jaguars got off to a rough start just like they did Thursday against Omaha. Luke made three straight layups to give the Leathernecks a 6-2 lead. The Jaguars managed to tie the game back up at nine but the Leathernecks answered with a 9-4 run in only 1:28.
Down 18-13 with 11:16 remaining in the half, the Jaguars went on a huge run, just like they did against Omaha, to take control of the game. Markovic and Maddox made a pair of layups to get things started and Kelsi Byrd found Comello for a three-pointer to give the Jaguars a 20-18 lead.  
After a steal and pair of layups from Bellamy and Sims, Luster hit a 3-pointer from the top of the arc and Markovic followed it up with one her own to extend the lead to 30-18 with 7:44 remaining in the half. It was a 17-0 run in just 4:32.
The first-half run was crucial in giving the Jaguars control of the game, but their defensive effort on Luke in the second half was what won it. Leading 41-34 at the half, Luke had already scored 13 points and grabbed four rebounds. In the second half though, she wouldn't score.
Asked about the key to defending Luke in the second half, Bellamy said, "It was just contain. It took a team doing the right thing to make sure we've been on point, make sure we helped out our post players, make sure our guys got back and just make sure that we didn't let her go off because if we did then it probably would have been a different story."
It wasn't a different story though and IUPUI continued to play like they did during the 17-0 stretch in the first half. They came out firing on all cylinders in the second pushing their seven-point half-time lead to a game-high 14-point lead in under two minutes.
Just like the first half, Markovic opened up the second with a basket on the IUPUI's first possession. Bellamy grabbed a defensive rebound on the other end and took it the length of the floor for a layup. After forcing Luke into a missed shot, Nicole Rogers hit one of her four 3-pointers to put IUPUI up 48-34.
Western Illinois would answer, eventually cutting the lead to only four points at 59-55 with 8:07 remaining, but IUPUI came right back scoring the next eight points. Rogers's 3-pointer with 4:09 left capped off the run to give IUPUI a 67-55 lead.
Rogers would hit one more 3-pointer to give the Jaguars a 10-point lead with just 2:34 left in the game. Western Illinois didn't threaten again.
While the game was all but over, the best moment may have been with 0.9 seconds remaining. IUPUI was trying to run out the clock when Western Illinois decided to foul at the last moment. It gave head coach Austin Parkinson a chance to take the seniors off the floor, and they left the game to a standing ovation from the crowd of 602.
"Pretty cool for the kids to win 21, to do it in your own gym, back-to-back years setting a school record," said coach Parkinson. "A lot of emotion goes into senior day. These kids have been through a lot and really turned the face of our program around."
"I never thought we'd get to this point but I'm glad that we did," said Bellamy. "It feels good. I'm glad it was me and these girls that set the record."
The Jaguars already set the record, but the season isn't over yet. The team will travel to Sioux Falls, South Dakota this Thursday for the Summit League Tournament. IUPUI will have the second seed in the tournament and begin play on Saturday, March 8.

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