Benson leads Cougars past Beloit
After an “off” game Thursday against Madison Memorial, when Benson sat out with the flu, the Cougars bounced back Saturday night against Beloit Memorial with a 71-60 win, sparked by Benson’s 27 points.
The win lifted Craig to third place in the Big Eight at 6-5 and 9-5 overall. Beloit fell to 3-7 and 4-8.
Both teams had trouble handling the ball, but Craig adjusted better than Beloit. There were 46 turnovers, including 28 by Beloit.
“Their press gave us some problems early on because we were running to the sides,” said Craig coach Mark Marsden. “Once we adjusted and went over the top in the middle, we got some easy baskets, and that helped us build up a cushion.”
Beloit outscored Craig 20-16 in the third quarter and closed to within 49-43, but Benson took charge in the final period. The 5-7 senior scored 10 fourth-quarter points and finished the game at 17-of-19 from the free-throw line, including making her last 14.
Craig was 30-for-36 from the line overall.
“We thought we played a lot better, but when a team shoots 30-for-36 from the line, it presents a problem,” said Beloit coach Mark Schildt. “Craig is a very good defensive team, but we had too many unforced turnovers.”
Brianne Monahan, a 6-1 senior, led the Purple Knights with 22 points, but it was Beloit’s other post player, 5-8 Briana Carroll, who gave the Cougars problems during her team’s third- quarter run.
“Carroll was just driving the lane, and we were standing around,” Marsden said. “I think we adjusted well, but not before she had put them back in the game.”
Carroll finished with 18 points, but she had only two field goals in the final quarter.
Whitney Storbakken and Danielle Straw backed up Benson with 12 points apiece for Craig. Alexis Hilden added eight, and Lauren McQueen came off the bench to score seven.
Craig squares off with No. 1-ranked Janesville Parker (13-1, 10-0) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night in the Vikings’ gym.
CRAIG 71, BELOIT 60
Beloit (60)—Truttmann, 1-0-2; Monahan, 8-6-22; Carroll, 8-2-18; Tann, 3-2-9; Slavish, 0-3-3; Hankins, 0-2-2; Bridges, 2-0-4. Totals: 22-15-60.
Craig (71)—Benson, 5-17-27; Storbakken, 3-4-12; Straw, 4-3-12; Hilden, 3-1-8; McQueen, 1-5-7; Morgan, 1-0-2; Hamilton, 1-0-3. Totals: 18-30-71.
Beloit Memorial 6 17 20 17
Janesville Craig 16 17 16 22
Three-point goals—Beloit 1 (Tann), Craig 5 (Storbakken 2, Straw, Hilden, Hamilton). Free throws missed—Beloit 11, Craig 6. Total fouls—Beloit 27, Craig 22. Fouled out—Tann, Hankins.
Sophomores—Craig 74, Beloit 41. Craig scoring leaders: Kelsey Kennedy, 14; Lindsey Oliver, 12; Emily Hinman, 10. Craig record: 13-2 overall, 10-1 in the Big Eight.