MILWAUKEE -- It took 16 tries, but the Alverno College women's basketball team finally defeated Concordia University Wisconsin with a 69-50 triumph Saturday night in Reiman Gymnasium. It was the Northern Athletics Conference opener for both teams.
"It's really an important win," Alverno head coach Brad Duckworth said. "Concordia is a really a great basketball team with a great coach."
Prior to tonight's win, Concordia Wisconsin was the only NAC team in the all-time series that Alverno had not beaten. "In the time I've been here, we've never beaten them. That was the last one," added Duckworth.
Devon Gorman and Kristen Speerschneider combined to shoot 13-of-24 from the field and 3-of-4 from the 3-point line, for a game-high 21 points apiece to lead the Inferno (2-1, 1-0 NAC). Gorman snagged a game-best 12 rebounds as well.
Katie Luethe got 12 points and six rebounds to lead the Falcons, while Camille Parson and Brittany Zietlow scored 11 and 10 points.
After a back-and-forth first half, the host Inferno snapped a 23-23 tie and closed out the period with a 10-3 run for a 33-26 lead at intermission.
The Inferno shot a blistering 52 percent from the floor in the opening-half, and held the visiting Falcons (1-2, 0-1 NAC) to just 30 percent. Both finished with similar numbers as Alverno ended up with a 48 percent (22-of-46) accuracy and Concordia 30 percent (19-of-64).
Alverno keep the momentum in its favor in the second half as Speerschneider drained a 3-pointer in the team's opening possession. Just minutes later, the point guard knocked down a 19-foot jumper that gave the Inferno its first double-digit lead of the game, 40-30.
Gorman found an open Anna Boteva (10 points) who connected on the lay-up for the Inferno's largest lead of the game, 59-39, with 5:18 left to play.
Back-to-back 3-pointers and a put-back capped off an 8-0 run by the Falcons, but the visitors would not get any closer as the Inferno made 10 of its final 14 free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
Kayla Kennedy added nine points and had game-highs with five assists and three steals, while she grabbed five rebounds for Alverno, who edged out the Falcons with a 38-37 advantage on the glass.
The NAC coaches' preseason poll picked Concordia to win the North Division and had Alverno seventh (last) in the North.
Alverno returns to action on Tuesday, as it hosts Maranatha Baptist Bible College in conference play at 7 p.m.