MILWAUKEE -- For the first time this season the members of the Alverno College basketball team can call themselves winners of back-to-back games. The Inferno defeated visiting Aurora University, 52-51, in a Northern Athletics Conference game Saturday night in Reiman Gymnasium for the team's second-straight victory.
"It was nice to finally win two in a row," Alverno head coach Brad Duckworth said. "Hopefully we can continue to string some success together."
Through the Inferno's first 13 games, the team followed each win with a loss, and each loss with a win. The non-streak streak finally ended in the team's 14th game, but it didn't come easily.
Alverno shot poorly from the field -- just under 29 percent -- but sunk 18-of-23 free-throw attempts, compared to the Spartans' 6-of-8.
"Our commitment to get to the free-throw line tonight was the difference," said Duckworth. "We shot the ball much better from the line again, and kept Aurora off the line. When you make 18 and your opponents only shoot eight, it shows we were more aggressive."
The Inferno -- which never trailed in the contest -- gained its largest lead of the game, 32-22, on a pair of Jamie Hoernke free throws shortly into the second half, before the Spartans (5-8, 2-4 NAC) battled back to 39-38 just minutes later.
An Anna Boteva 3-pointer midway through the period put the Inferno (8-6, 5-2 NAC) up 46-38, but the scrappy Spartans would mount another comeback.
Bethany Dorrington -- who scored a team-high 14 points with three 3-pointers -- brought the visitors within two points, 50-48, on a 3-point field goal at the 2:30 mark, but the Inferno answered as Hoernke spotted a wide-open Kristen Speerschneider under the hoop for an easy layup and a four-point lead.
The next possession the Spartans' Shay Jenkins connected from long range to cut the lead to 52-51 with under a minute to play.
Alverno's next shot was off the mark and the Spartans called a timeout with 5.2 seconds, to set up a Jenkins' 3-point attempt. The junior guard hit two 3s prior, but her ninth 3-point shot of the night was wide left as time expired and the Inferno escaped with the victory.
"Tonight was gutty," commented Duckworth. "You go back a year, and a kid hits a 47-footer at the buzzer to beat us. But tonight, in the same situation, we had a different feel. Tonight in the huddle we were confident."
Gorman snagged a game-high nine rebounds to aid the Inferno's 37-29 advantage on the boards and had a game-best six steals, while Kennedy led all passers with five assists.
Alverno will seek its third-straight win as it hosts Marian University in the Inferno's final contest of a five-game homestand on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.