The Carthage College women's basketball team (1-0, 0-0 College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin), ranked 30th in the pre-season USA Today/ESPN/Women's Basketball Coaches Association NCAA Division III poll and 48th in the "D3hoops.com" poll, opened its 2011-12 season on Tuesday night, Nov. 15 with a 61-48 win over St. Norbert College (0-1) at Tarble Arena in Kenosha, Wis.
Carthage jumped out to a 13-2 lead at 13:29. The Lady Reds upped their lead to 12 points on two occasions, the last at 23-11 at 9:10, before the Green Knights took off on a 19-6 run to take a one-point lead, 30-29, at 2:06. St. Norbert led by one at the break, 33-32. Following a couple of ties early in the second half, the Lady Reds took the lead, for good, 40-38, at 15:59 on a layup by Diana Jacklin. Carthage extended its lead to 13 points, 53-40 at 6:28, with the aid of a 13-2 run. The Green Knights whittled the margin down to eight points, 53-45, at 5:28, but the Lady Reds went on to win by 13, 61-48.
Carthage shot 46 percent (24-52), while St. Norbert shot just 31 percent (16-52). The Green Knights shot 52 percent in the first half (12-23). Carthage out-rebounded St. Norbert by a 38-29 margin. Four Lady Reds starters scored in double figures. Cailee Corcoran (Jr., Oak Lawn, Ill./Chicago-Marist) scored a team-high 17 points on seven-of-10 field goal and three-of-four free throws. Stephanie Kuzmanic (So., Mount Prospect, Ill./Wheeling) had 14 points on four-of-seven shooting, including four-of-five from three-point range, along with seven rebounds and five assists. Diana Jacklin (Sr., Berwyn, Ill./Morton West) had 13 points on six-of-10 from the floor, along with eight rebounds, and Dani Ripkey (Sr., Deerfield, Ill.) added 11 points. Krista Pelky topped St. Norbert with 19 points and five assists, and Krista Hawkinson added 13 points.
"I was scared to death of this game all off-season," said Carthage coach Tim Bernero "St. Norbert is a fine basketball team. They're a good regional team, and this was a good game for us to play. When they're allowed to do what they do, they're really hard to guard. We adjusted in the second half, and we handled their zone a little better. There are always some bugs to work out after the first game, and we did a pretty good job. Stephanie Kuzmanic did a nice job of running the floor in the second half, and she kept us in the game with the three-pointers in the first half, while Diana Jacklin was in foul trouble. For us to be good, we Diana Jacklin to be a dominant player, and she wants to be that kind of player."
Carthage travels to Milwaukee on Friday-Saturday, Nov. 18-19 to play in the Wisconsin Lutheran College "Dunn's Sporting Goods Tip-Off Tournament" at the Recreation Complex Center. On Friday, Nov. 18, Carthage plays Nebraska Wesleyan University at 5 p.m., followed by Wisconsin Lutheran taking on Bethel University (Minn.) at 7 p.m. The Saturday, Nov. 19 consolation and championship games will be at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.