LIBERTYVILLE — The obstacles Dundee-Crown was up against during its nonconference game against Libertyville on Monday night were formidable.
Not only were the Chargers tasked with facing one of Lake County's top teams in the Wildcats – who have two starters committed to play college ball after graduating and two more with Division I offers currently on the table – but D-C also was without seniors Payton Schmidt (flu) and Hannah Koehlert, while junior Gianine Boado is out for the season with a torn ACL.
Consequently, Chargers coach Sarah Miller was left with eight players to use in her rotation, and the result was a 49-32 loss that was a huge midseason litmus test for both teams.
Regardless of the adversity, Miller wasn't about to make excuses after the game, which saw the Chargers (14-3) stay within two possessions of the Wildcats (14-4) throughout the first half and a large portion of the third quarter.
Neither team led by more than six until Libertyville pulled away for good with a 10-2 run in the final three-plus minutes of the third.
"Credit to Libertyville. I felt like they played hard for four full quarters," Miller said. "I definitely felt like at the beginning, we proved we could play with them. We weren't able to sustain a full team offense and defense. It's that simple.
"When things started not going our way, we went away from the reason we're at the place we are right now [record-wise]. We're a defensive-identity team. The one thing I don't want to do is use the fact we were down three players as an excuse. I think we're capable of playing at the same level as Libertyville. We just didn't for a full game."
The Chargers, who got a double-double (11 points, 12 rebounds) from junior forward Alyssa Crenshaw and 10 points, four boards and three steals from Katelyn Skibinski, held the Wildcats to 21.7% shooting (5 for 23) in the first half, and only 18 points.
Trouble was, D-C was equally cold from the floor, going 6 for 22 (27.2%) during the same span and, consequently, trailed by five at halftime. But Libertyville's powerhouse guard depth became overwhelming as the game went on.
Margaret Buchert, a DePauw commit, scored a game-best 14 points for the Wildcats. Lauren Huber, who has an offer from Eastern Illinois on the table, had 10 points and blocked four shots. And freshman sensation Emily Fisher, who has an offer from Iowa St., poured in 11 and went 7 of 8 from the foul line – while making two of her three field-goal tries.
Libertyville caught fire from beyond the 3-point arc in the second half, going 6 of 8, while D-C managed only one 3 all evening, during the final two minutes of the game.
"We know [D-C] is capable of putting 60-plus points up on the board," Libertyville coach Greg Pedersen said. "And we knew we'd have trouble defending Crenshaw 1-on-1. So we really focused on our defense and her, coming in."
Despite pulling down 11 offensive rebounds, second-chance points were scarce for D-C, thanks in part to the Wildcats' noticeable height advantage at all five positions. And when Libertyville pulled down defensive rebounds, its transition game was lightning quick.
"Our effort was a total team effort," Pedersen said. "Our goal was to hold them under 40 points, which is a tall task, but one we accomplished. We're undefeated when we hold teams under 40. And offensively, our team is pretty unselfish. They know that they can hunt a good shot."
STAR OF THE GAME
Alyssa Crenshaw, Dundee-Crown, jr., F
Despite the constant double teams in the paint, Crenshaw posted a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double.
9: Blocked shots by Libertyville, out of 48 field-goal attempts by the Chargers, which is 18.7% of their attempts.
AND ANOTHER THING …
Five D-C players had four rebounds or more.
Libertyville 49, Dundee-Crown 32
Dundee-Crown 8 5 6 13 – 32
Libertyville 9 9 16 15 – 49
Crenshaw 4 3-4 11, Skibinski 5 0-0 10, Gotter 2 0-1 4, Azar 1 0-0 3, Oldham 1 0-0 2, Harris 1 0-0 2, Sanchez 0 0-0 0, Randl 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 3-5 32.
Buchert 4 3-4 14, Fisher 2 7-8 11, Huber 4 0-0 10, Kotzan 2 0-0 4, Crow 1 0-0 3, Spaulding 1 0-0 3, Morrissey 1 0-0 2, Frea 1 0-0 2, Chudy 0 0-0 0, Rodriguez 0 0-0 0, Van Matre 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 10-12 49.
3-point field goals: Libertyville 7 (Buchert 3, Huber 2, Crow, Spaulding, ), Dundee-Crown 1(Azar).
Total team fouls: Dundee-Crown 15, Libertyville 11. Techincal fouls: Libertyville (Bench/roster technical). Fouled out: None.