Summit League: Western Illinois WBB Leaves Strongest Impression on Day 1
From start to finish, no team competed and dominated the opposition like Western Illinois women's basketball did on Day One of the Summit League tournament.
Yes, the Leathernecks' No. 1 vs. No. 8 seeded matchup arguably had the greatest disparity in quality between opponents on the tournament's first day, but no team put together a commanding effort from tip-off to the final whistle like Western Illinois.
The Leathernecks controlled every facet of the game and cruised to an 82-39 victory over Denver.
It all started with Western Illinois' debilitating defense. Western Illinois held Denver to single digits in two quarters, including limiting the Pioneers to only two points through the first quarter of play.
Western Illinois' defensive clamp never let go, holding Denver to 15-of-60 shooting from the field and 4-of-18 shooting from behind the arc. That's 25 percent and 22 percent, respectively. If you're not impressed yet, the Leathernecks forced 23 turnovers as well.
On the offensive end, the Leathernecks converted on 15 3-pointers, shooting 41 percent from behind the arc for the game as a team. Their Summit League Player of the Year, Emily Clemens, put together a solid performance as well. She totaled 17 points and nine assists in the rout.
Overall, five Leathernecks finished in double-figures for scoring, and both Olivia Braun and Taylor Higginbotham grabbed double-digit rebounds.
We saw a number of good individual and team performances during Day One of the Summit League tournament, but no team matched the intensity and beginning-to-end tenacity of Western Illinois women's basketball.
Honorable mention: IUPUI men's basketball for its 76-57 upset over North Dakota State.