The Carthage College women's basketball team (2-1, 0-0 College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin), ranked 12th in the "D3hoops.com" pre-season poll, opened at home on Wednesday, Nov. 20 with a 94-53 win over Beloit College (0-1) at Tarble Arena in Kenosha, Wis.
Carthage doubled up Beloit, 20-10, at 13:47. Six minutes later, the lead went to 24 points, 40-16, at 7:33, as the Lady Reds closed out a 20-6 run. Carthage led by as much as 27 points in the first period, 54-27, with 54 seconds to go and led by 24 at the break, 54-30. The Lady Reds continued to pull away in the second period, taking a 35-point lead, 75-40, at 11:22 and a 41-point bulge, 84-43, at 6:41. Carthage went on to win by that 41-point margin, 94-53.
The Lady Reds shots 57 percent (40-70), including 11-of-22 from three-point range. The Buccaneers connected at just a 34 percent rate (18-53) and hit six-of-19 from three-point range. Carthage had a 43-30 rebounding edge. Four Lady Reds starters scored in double figures, with Haley Stercic (Sr., Chicago, Ill./Marist) leading the way with 15 points on five-of-10 field goals, all from three-point range. Kristi Schmidt (Sr., Bloomington, Ill./Normal-Community) had 14 points on six-of-13 shooting, along with seven rebounds. Stephanie Kuzmanic (Sr., Mount Prospect, Ill./Wheeling) and Michelle Wenzel (Sr., Darien, Wis./Delavan-Darien) had 12 points each, with Kuzmanic dishing out eight assists.
Kasey Kleiner (Jr., South Milwaukee, Wis./Somers-Shoreland Lutheran) came off the bench to score a game-high 17 points on a perfect six-of-six shooting night, including five-of-five three-pointers. Taylor Boardman (So., Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way North), while limited to two points, pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds. Laura Paqnicali led Beloit with 11 points.
"We got into an offensive rhythm early," said Carthage coach Tim Bernero. "If we get shots off transition, we can be really dangerous, because we shoot the ball well. The three-pointers were also falling, so that made things look even better. If we get Stephanie Kuzmanic in the open court, that's good for us. She can get to the rim, she makes good decisions, and she can make shots. Taylor Boardman is frustrated because her shots weren't dropping, but her 10 rebounds was a good job. Defensively, we gave up some easy baskets, but we mostly accomplished what we set out to do."
Carthage travels to Lake Forest, Ill., on Saturday, Nov. 23 to play Lake Forest College (0-3) in a 2 p.m. game at the Sports Center.