Lady Lakers go for GRAC tie at Wabash Valley
February 4, 2012By Chet Novak of LAKE LAND COLLEGE
MT CARMEL--The women's basketball team of Lake Land College (6-2) doesn't want to have to rely on other Great Rivers Athletic Conference teams to knock off Wabash Valley (7-1).
Saturday night's game in Mt. Carmel becomes Lake Land's best shot at tying for the GRAC lead. A Lady Lakers win would create identical conference records. (Southwestern Illinois College currently has the same conference record as Lake Land at 6-2.)
The Lady Warriors started their GRAC season with a 62-55 win over the Lady Lakers on January 7 at Laker Fieldhouse. Since then, WVC's record was perfect until Wednesday night's 61-54 OT loss to SWIC, the upset creating a three-way battle for the GRAC lead.
SWIC did Lake Land a big favor with their win in Belleville over WVC, but while LLC's sights have to be set on the Lady Warriors, the fact remains that when the smoke clears from the hardwood in Mt. Carmel, Saturday night, SWIC will yet be within striking distance whether they win or lose their own game versus Rend Lake College.
If the Lady Lakers and Lady Blue Storm win Saturday, a three-way tie for the WBB-GRAC lead occurs. If the Lady Lakers lose and the Lady Blue Storm wins, the WBB-GRAC will have a definite 1-2-3 placement, to wit: 1) WVC, 2) SWIC, 3) LLC. If the Lady Lakers win and the Lady Blue Storm lose, a two-way tie between LLC and WVC is created, with SWIC a couple games off the pace. If both the Lady Lakers and the Lady Blue Storm lose, they remain tied for 2nd in the WBB-GRAC and WVC goes up two games on both of them.
If you're a player, you don't want your mind muddled with all these possibilities. Instead, the old unwritten rule applies: focus on the game at hand. The rest you have no control over.
Winning on the road won't be easy for Lake Land, not to mention three injured players: Whitney Godden (out for season), Lacey Gleeson (out for season), Hillary Collins (day to day), all with similar knee injuries. The LLC roster is reduced to 10. A smaller roster can change how head coach, Dave Johnson, employs strategy, but maybe having more of an impact is that two of those injured players are guards.
Whitney Godden had just been coming into her own, finding her place within the team chemistry, when she was sidelined for the year. Hillary Collins had always been considered the important sixth player, and for a time, took over the point guard for Haley Sparks to free up the sophomore from Charleston to exploit defenses from the wing with her offensive skills. Now that option is no longer available.
The Lady Lakers made adjustments in their 64-41 win Wednesday night over Lincoln Trail College. Johnson has had a couple days to refine those adjustments, which will be thoroughly tested by the powerhouse Wabash Valley squad.
Next game: WBB-Lake Land College @ Wabash Valley College. 5:30 p.m. CST. Coverage: None.