They were only the eighth, ninth and 10th points of the season for junior guard Bri Graham, but her three-pointer from the left wing with 1:12 left in a 118-78 win over North Central on Saturday, Jan. 26, made history in the Wheaton women’s basketball program.
The shot made the score 113-76, and it broke two team records, tied two records and extended one that had been broken exactly one minute earlier. Freshman guard Makayla Seibold recorded the assist on the play, bringing Wheaton’s team total on the game to 34 assists.
This extended the team record for assists in a game, which was broken at the 2:12 mark when sophomore wing Lauren Graham assisted freshman wing Sarah Drury on a jumper, breaking Wheaton’s team record of 32 assists in one game set against Concordia in 1995.
The 112 points scored by the Thunder in that 1995 contest and their 63 first-half points were also team records. Bri Graham’s shot eclipsed the 112 mark and tied the mark for most points in a half, as it brought the Thunder’s second half total to 63. Bri Graham’s layup 44 seconds later broke the latter record.
Bri Graham’s trey also broke the team record for most combined points in a game. The resulting 113-76 score brought the total to 189 points, surpassing the previous mark of 188, which was set in a 104-84 loss to UI-Chicago in 1982. The record for field goals made in a game, 44 in a 1994 game against Elmhurst, was tied on the three-pointer. Bri Graham’s layup also broke that record.
Together the Graham sisters, Lauren and Bri, were responsible for breaking five Wheaton program records. The final totals of 118 points scored, 68 points in a half, 196 combined points, 46 field goals made and 34 assists were all new team records.
“As far as the records go, it was just great to hit that many points! I didn’t realize we were close to so many records, but glory to God they went in. … It was exciting,” said freshman post Hannah Considine.
The high score and gaudy statistics were due in large part to North Central’s unique, fast-paced style of play. The Cardinals lead the nation in points per game (88.9) and three-point field goals per game (11.6). They also run a full-court press for the duration of every game, resulting in the third highest steals-per-game mark in the country at 18.1.
Head Coach Michelle Roof is able to bring the press for 40 minutes by regularly substituting in a full lineup of five new players. In Saturday night’s contest, all five Cardinal starters were subbed out with 19:17 remaining in the first half. Considine credited the Wheaton coaching staff for preparing the Thunder for the rare style of North Central.
“It was a crazy style for sure but really fun to play against. The coaches did an amazing job of preparing us for their style of play. We did a lot of work on press break and looking down the court,” said Considine about the practices in the preceding days.
The Thunder emerged with a 40-point victory, but it was not a route from the start. The halftime margin was only four, due to Lauren Graham’s layup one second before time expired, which put the Thunder up 50-46 as they headed into the locker room. In the first half, Wheaton saw a double-digit lead erased by a North Central run. Considine finished the first half with 18 points, despite sitting the final nine minutes on the bench due to foul trouble.
Wheaton opened the second half with a 23-7 run to extend its advantage to 20 points, and from there it was all Thunder. They outscored the Cardinals 68-32 in the second half to account for the final score of 118-78. Considine finished the game with a career-high 33 points on 15-18 shooting to go with nine rebounds and five assists.
Senior guard Brooke Olson tied her season-high of 26 points, shooting 8-for-14 from the floor. She also finished two assists shy of a triple-double, bringing down a team-high 10 rebounds and dishing out a game-high eight assists. Junior post Maris Hovee finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, and senior guard Breanna Bohlen added 13 points and six boards. Considine said it was her team that helped her achieve a career-high in scoring.
“All I had to do was shoot all of the little easy shots, the other girls are the ones that found me by the hoop. It was a great team effort and a fantastic night overall,” she said.
Thunder Head Coach Kent Madsen was pleased with the way his team improved its play following the halftime intermission.
“I think our frustration in the first half was just too many fouls,” he said, following the victory. “But then we came back, and we cleaned it up in the second half.”
On Wednesday, Jan. 30, the Thunder hosted Augustana in another CCIW tilt. The Thunder avenged one of their three losses, coming away with a 82-45 win over the Vikings. Four players finished in double figures for the Thunder. Bohlen led the team with 15 points, and Olson, Considine and Lauren Graham added 12 points each. Hovee recorded seven rebounds and seven assists for the second straight game, while freshman guard Ellie Zeller led the team with eight rebounds. Wheaton shot 10-for-21 as a team from beyond the arc in the contest.
The Thunder improve to 16-3 overall and 7-2 in conference play. They will travel to Illinois Wesleyan University tomorrow to take on the Titans. Tip-off time is set at 5 p.m. That game can be heard on 88.1 WETN-FM radio or streaming live online at www.wetn.org.
Photo and Banner Credit: Allison Freet
Printed in the February 1, 2013 issue of The Wheaton Record. Send comments to email@example.com.