CHICAGO – The Alverno basketball team opened the 2018-19 Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference season with a 68-40 victory over the Illinois Tech Scarlet Hawks at the Keating Sports Center.
With the win Alverno improves to 1-0 in league play, while securing its second-straight win to improve to 2-1 on the season.
Leading the way for Alverno on the scoresheet was senior Mackenzie Mathies, who tallied a team-best 21 points including six three-pointers. Her six three-pointers was one shy of her career high, as well as tying the program mark for a single game, which has been done twice in program history including last year's performance by Mathies at Marian on December 2.
Senior Justice Hawkins had her first double-double of the season as she was able to pull down a team-best 12 rebounds and added 10 points. In 21 minutes on the court sophomore Kailey Kennow added 14 points including a three-point basket.
Sophomore Sara Redlin had nine points and added six rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench. Senior Kendra Patterson had eight points and six rebounds, while classmate Dani Hood had four points and three assists. Senior Karli Selear had two points, and had a team-high two steals.
Alverno got off to a quick start in the first quarter with a 6-0 lead in the opening two minutes, however the Inferno were unable to hold back Illinois Tech as the Scarlet Hawks outscored Alverno 12-5 in the closing minutes of the opening stanza.
The second quarter saw the Inferno come alive as the squad outscored Illinois Tech by a 29-9 margin. Kennow got the scoring started with a free throw, followed by a three-pointer, layup, and jumper by the Scarlet Hawks.
Trailing by seven the Inferno broke the Illinois Tech run as Mathies connected on a three-pointer off a dish from Hood. Hawkins then drilled a three-ball from a Selear pass, before Patterson connected on a jumper to put Alverno ahead by a 20-19 score with 5:51 to go in the half.
After a free throw by Illinois Tech tied the score at 20, Redlin connected on a three-pointer to put the Inferno ahead for good at 23-20. Mathies followed with a three-pointer, followed by a Kennow layup and then a three-pointer by Hawkins. Kennow notched three-straight from the charity stripe before Mathies connected on another three-pointer with under a minute to go.
Alverno closed out the half with a Redlin layup and a solo free throw by Mathies to send the Inferno into the locker room with a 40-21 advantage.
In the third quarter Mathies jumpstarted the offense again with a three-pointer just 10 seconds into the half. Kennow added her three-pointer midway through the third quarter to put the Inferno ahead 48-25 with 4:50 to go. A brief six-point burst from Illinois Tech was thwarted by a Redlin layup as Alverno led 50-31.
Alverno ended the third quarter with a layup from Hawkins and a pair of free throws by Patterson to send the squads to the final quarter with Alverno leading 54-31.
Mathies got the fourth quarter started with another three-pointer as she extended Alverno's lead to 26, Hood followed with a layup before Patterson connected on a jumped to push the Inferno ahead by 30. Later in the half Kennow connected on a layup and converted the ensuing and-one free throw before converting on another jumper with under two minutes to go to make the score 68-35. Illinois Tech closed out the game with the final five points but it went for naught as the Inferno had controlled the final 30 minutes to register the win.
As a team Alverno shot 40.7% from the field, while knocking down 37% from beyond the arc. The Inferno was also 10-for-15 from the free-throw line and outrebounded the Scarlet Hawks by a 48-35 margin.
Alverno (2-1, 1-0 NACC) will be back on the road this Tuesday, when the Inferno visit local foe MSOE at 7 p.m. from the Kern Center.