Madi Epperson led St. Ambrose with a "quiet" 21 points Wednesday, reflective of the team effort that carried the Queen Bees to a 77-70 women’s basketball win over visiting Roosevelt.
"Everybody worked together, and in the end, it all added up for us," Epperson said.
From Epperson’s 4-of-6 touch from 3-point range to Aubrie Carlisle’s eight assists, Hailey Cook’s inside work in an 18-point, six-assist game and Reeann McCarty’s nine rebounds to go with 17 points, all of the numbers added up for St. Ambrose.
The Queen Bees also recorded 22 assists on 27 baskets, pulling away from a 32-31 halftime lead to defeat an opponent that beat St. Ambrose by 19 points in November.
"That was a long time ago, and I think this shows how we’ve grown as a team since then," coach Krista Van Hauen said. "That assist number tonight, it says a lot about the kind of team basketball we played."
St. Ambrose separated itself from the Lakers by limiting Roosevelt to 7-of-26 shooting in the second and third quarters.
That defensive effort allowed the Queen Bees to overcome a slow offensive start and rally from a 21-17 deficit after one quarter.
"It wasn’t the fast start we wanted, but we were still rebounding, moving the ball around well," Van Hauen said. "That kept us in there."
Former Sherrard prep Chelsey Crippen kept the Lakers in the game, leading Roosevelt with a 16-point, 11-rebound effort.
The junior gave the Lakers their last lead of the game at 40-38 on an inbounds play with 3 minutes, 52 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Cook, a Bees’ junior from Moline, answered on the ensuing possession, and after Coleen Grady hit two free throws to put the Queen Bees in front 42-40 with 3:08 to go in the third, St. Ambrose (10-15, 8-7 CCAC) never trailed again.
Epperson opened and closed the third quarter with 3-point baskets, and when Candace Finnin opened the fourth quarter with a basket from behind the arc, Roosevelt (14-11, 7-8) found itself in a 51-43 hole.
The St. Ambrose lead reached 61-48 on a basket by McCarty with 5:41 remaining, part of an 8-of-13 finish from the field in the fourth quarter by the Bees.
"We came out in the third quarter and started strong," Epperson said. "At halftime, we knew we had a few things to clean up on defense and on the offensive end. We came out strong and played our game. We worked the ball around, found good, open shots, and it put us in a position to play the way we needed to play."