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Columbia Missourian

Defense leads Cougars women to win

By Emily Schmidt
February 14, 2009 | 4:46 p.m. CST
The Cougars' Rachel Oswald goes to the basket against Illinois-Springfield on Feb. 14 at Southwell Complex.

COLUMBIA — The Columbia College women's basketball team used tough defense to defeat Illinois-Springfield 91-45 Saturday at Southwell Complex.

Many of the No. 16 Cougars starters got into early foul trouble, and standout guard Whitney Widaman went to the bench in the first half and sat for much of the rest of the game.

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But the Cougars jumped out to a 41-26 halftime advantage then outscored the Prairie Stars 50-19 in the second half. The Cougars held the Prairie Stars to 24 percent shooting in the second half and for the game forced them into 13 turnovers.

“Defense is what wins our ballgame,” said forward Rachel Oswald, who led the Cougars with 23 points, eight rebounds and four steals. “We always play to our strength, and everyone did that today.”

Brittany Taylor and Whitney Davis both scored 13 points for Columbia College and Dominique Ivory had 11.

The Cougars improve to 24-2 overall and 11-1 in the American Midwest Conference. Illinois-Springfield falls to 4-19. The last time they met, the Cougars beat the Prairie Stars 57-56.

Columbia College is set to play three games in the next week, beginning Tuesday when the Cougars travel to take on McKendree.