ROCKFORD, Ill. – Senior Justice Hawkins led the Alverno Inferno with 31 points on Saturday afternoon as she set a new program record with 14 field goals made to help lead Alverno past the Rockford Regents by the score of 72-71 in Illinois.
Hawkins converted on 14 field goals in 20 chances from the field, including 1-of-2 from beyond the arc. The 14 field goals made is a new program record, shattering the old mark of 12, which had been done four times in program history, most recently in December of the 2008-09 season.
The 31 points for Hawkins was one point shy of the single-game record at Alverno of 32 points, which has been done twice in program history, most recently during the 2013-14 season by Jamie Hoernke. The feat of 32 points had been the original standard set back in the program's infancy as Emily Zawikowski had 32 in a February 2002 matchup with St. Mary of the Woods.
In addition to Hawkins' shining performance, classmate Mackenzie Mathies also had a strong effort as she notched her third double-double of the season with 16 points to go along with 10 rebounds on the day.
Sophomore Sara Redlin tied her season-high with nine points, which she had previously accomplished in back-to-back games against Illinois Tech on December 1 and MSOE on December 4. Sophomore Kailey Kennow made her second consecutive start and notched seven points, while sophomore Brittney Hondel scored the first six points of her career on 2-of-3 shooting from the field.
Alverno was led by three players with four assists each as seniors Karli Selear, Dani Hood along with Hawkins each had four assists. Selear led the team with four steals, while Hood added a pair of forced turnovers. Hawkins had six rebounds following Mathies' team-leading 10, while Hood added five boards on the defensive glass.
Alverno got out to a hot start with a 23-10 lead following the opening quarter as Hawkins had nine of her 31 points in the opening period. Kennow and Redlin each had five, while Mathies collected 10 points to put the Inferno up by 13 heading into the second quarter.
Following Alverno's torrid start, the Inferno scored 18 more points in the second quarter, outscoring the Regents by four. Hawkins added another eight to give her a halftime total of 17 following the opening 20 minutes of play. Hondel scored all six of her points in the second quarter with a pair of field goals and a pair of free throws. Redlin rounded out the first half scoring with four points on a pair of field goals.
The Inferno led 41-24 at the break, and added another 18 points in the third quarter but were outscored by their hosts by just a bucket as Rockford netted 20 points in the third. Mathies took over in the third quarter going 4-of-7 from the field including one three-pointer to lead the Inferno with nine points. Hawkins added six more points, while Kennow had one field goal and Selear added 1-of-2 from the stripe in the third.
Despite the Inferno leading 59-44 heading into the fourth quarter, the Regents made the Inferno sweat it out in the final period as Rockford put together a frantic rally. Hawkins opened the fourth with a layup before four points by the Regents was answered by another Hawkins lay-in. The two sides exchanged two more layups as Alverno held a 15-point lead at 65-50 with 7:41 to go in the game.
Rockford got hot by going on a 14-2 run, with the lone two points for Alverno coming on a pair of free throws by Selear. The Inferno lead had dissipated to one at 67-66 with just over a minute to go in the game. Hawkins connected on a huge layup to end the rally and give the Inferno a three-point lead with 48 ticks to go. The Regents answered with a layup at 32 seconds to trim the lead back down to one.
With 19 seconds remaining, Mathies was fouled and was able to convert a pair of clutch free throws to make it a three-point game once again. Mathies added one more free throw with just about one second to go to make it a two-possession lead with Rockford needing a desperation heave just to pull within one. Rockford did connect on a three-pointer as time had expired but it was not enough as the Inferno held on for the one-point victory at 72-71.
Alverno (4-11, 3-7 NACC) will look to use its win on Saturday heading into another key conference road game this Wednesday, when the team visits Concordia Chicago for a 7 p.m. start on January 16.