Alverno Earns Tournament Berth In Record-Breaking Victory Over Sabres

Alverno Earns Tournament Berth In Record-Breaking Victory Over Sabres

FOND DU LAC, Wis. -- Not only did Alverno College earn a berth in the upcoming Northern Athletics Conference women's basketball tournament with its 63-44 triumph over Marian University tonight, but the Inferno set a new school record with its 14th victory of the season.

The game began 15 minutes later than scheduled due to a winter storm that hindered travel and the Inferno's arrival to Sadoff Gymnasium.

Yet the visiting Inferno (14-9, 11-5 NAC) did not let the postponement get in its way as it opened the game with a 6-0 lead and stayed in front the entire contest.

"The team really came determined to take care of business," Alverno head coach Brad Duckworth said. "We've been banged up, but just kept fighting. Tonight was a complete team victory."

The Sabres (4-19, 3-13) closed the gap to 13-10, but the Inferno scored the next 11 points for the 24-10 advantage. Alverno, which shot over 58 percent in the opening period, increased its lead to 36-18 at halftime.

Six minutes into the second half, Alverno garnered its largest lead of the game, 45-20, before the Sabres made one last push. Marian used a barrage of 3-pointers over the next six minutes to cut the lead to just 11 points, but the Inferno responded with the next seven and sailed to victory over the final minutes.

Alverno dominated the boards with a 40-26 rebounding advantage even without one of the team's top rebounders, as junior forward Jamie Hoernke left the game with an injury just three minutes into play.

Devon Gorman already had a double-double at halftime and led Alverno with 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the floor, 5-of-6 from the line and snagged a game and season-high 14 rebounds.

Kristen Speerschneider -- who played all 40 minutes -- scored 13 points, grabbed six rebounds and had four steals on the defensive end, while Kaitlin Schaeren was 5-of-6 from the field for 10 points.

Marian's Rissa Cerveny drained five 3-pointers and led all scorers with 26 points.

"Getting in the conference tournament was a big goal of ours and I'm really proud of this team -- we've played great team ball all year and the players deserve it," said Duckworth. "Yet the team is not content with what we've accomplished so far and knows there is more to come."

Alverno returns to action on Saturday at Dominican University. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. in River Forest, Ill.