After their best start in over 30 years, EC women’s basketball was beaten for the first time this season, falling 71-52 to rival Wheaton on Saturday.
After facing less than stellar competition their first six games, the Bluejays did not realize what was in store for them until it was too late, as they faced off against the no. 19 team in the country.
“This was definitely our first time in November [facing this level of competition], our competition was good but not as good as this,“ coach Tethnie Carrillo said after the game.
The game was knotted after the first quarter at 13 a piece for both teams, but during the second quarter Wheaton went on a thunderous 22-4 run.
In the second half the Thunder took over the game, creating a 27-point lead for themselves that the Bluejays were never able to diminish.
“Against a team like this you know you’re probably going to give up a little bit more [points],” Carrillo added.
“I think that [was] the biggest disappointment, we didn’t quite stick together as much as we needed to in the defensive end,” she added.
Despite losing by 19 points, junior All-American Mikaela Eppard believes the Bluejays are not a bad team.
“We have the opportunity to be top four in our conference, go to the conference tournament and come out of that [as champions],” Eppard said after the game.
Eppard leads the team in points and rebounds.
The CCIW tournament is a ways away and the Bluejays should turn their attention to their next CCIW opponent, undefeated Augustana.
EC will need to do a 180 from Saturday’s game if they hope to beat an Augustana team, that has already scored 100 points or more in half of their games.
“We really stressed in the locker room that we have to have two good solid practices before [facing] Augustana,” Carrillo said.
“Defense is what we’re going to live and die by this year,” she added.
Undefeated Augustana College will visit the Bluejays court on Dec. 7, with a 7 p.m. tip-off.
Luckily for the Bluejays they will have another chance at life next Saturday when Illinois Wesleyan visits the EC court with a 2 p.m. tip-off.