After a six-game winning streak throughout most of January, the women’s basketball team experienced certainly what amounts to their most humbling loss of the season. The team lost by a score of 70-44 to middle-of-the-pack Carthage College.
This loss seemed to re-orient the team as they have been an unstoppable force ever since, winning their last four games by an average of over 15 points. The women had positioned themselves wonderfully for the top seed in the CCIW tournament — all they needed was two more wins.
On Saturday, the women began that quest for the title of CCIW regular season champions against Carroll University. This game was never in doubt as the Thunder dominated every aspect of the game from start to finish. Wheaton was up 23-7 at the end of the first quarter and the team never looked back.
The game ended with Wheaton demolishing the Pioneers by a score that looks straight out of a video game: 102-37. Sophomore Kelly Thornton led the way for the Thunder with an extremely efficient 8-11 shooting performance in 14 minutes. Senior Katie McDaniels was next on the team with an impressive double-double of 11 points and 10 assists. Senior Chantal Meacham and junior Maggie Dansdill also contributed with 12 points each.
On Tuesday, the Thunder played an equally-important game against a little more competition. The team had already claimed a portion of the CCIW regular season championship, but they would be forced to share it with Illinois Wesleyan if the Titans defeated the Thunder.
In front of a raucous Wheaton crowd in King Arena, the team started strong with a quick 27-16 lead at the end of the first quarter. By halftime, the lead was down to three points. Both teams continued to fight and the Titans reduced the Thunder’s lead to only four points with six minutes to play, but that was as close as the game would get.
The women pushed the lead to double-digits and sealed the deal, winning the game by a score of 76-67. The win gave the women their third straight, and ninth overall, CCIW championship.
Junior Kelly Lawson led the Thunder with 22 points followed by McDaniels with 19 points and five assists. Meacham also chipped in with nine points.
“It means a lot to win another regular season championship this year and it’s not something we take lightly,” senior Abby Dorman explained. “It’s a combination of years of work that people have put into this program and new talent that gave us the opportunity to win three in a row.”
With the regular season title, Wheaton earned the honor of hosting CCIW tournament as they prepare to welcome Augustana to King Arena for the first round on Friday at 7 p.m.