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Brillhart double-double but Luther prevails

Women's basketball | Feb. 6, 2010

Haley BrillhartDECORAH—A 7-0 run to end the first half helped Luther College assert command and go on to trim the Central College women’s basketball team, 71-61 Saturday.  

Central forward Haley Brillhart (sophomore, Pella) recorded her third double-double with 13 points and a season-high 15 rebounds, along with three steals and two blocks. Freshman forward Alyssa Schwartz (Titonka, WCLT HS) came off the bench to add 11 points and five rebounds in 17 minutes of action while forward AJ Baker (sophomore, Grinnell) had nine points.

But Central (2-20 overall, 1-12 Iowa Conference) shot just 33.3 percent and committed 23 turnovers.

Luther scored the game’s first nine points and was up by as many as 11 points in the first half. But the Dutch clawed back to within 33-30 with less than 2 minutes remaining. Then Luther (8-13 overall, 3-9 conference) reeled off seven unanswered points for a 40-30 halftime bulge. Central couldn’t get closer than seven points the rest of the way.

“They hit us with a real whirlwind at the start of the game,” coach Jerry Nikkel said. “We got past that and I thought we really had a chance late in the first half but we let it get away.

“I thought everybody played hard. Haley (Brillhart) had another double-double and Alyssa (Schwartz) had three 3’s in the first half, which was nice to see. We made some good adjustments offensively but defensively we allowed too many players to get the ball inside. That hurt us.”

Central’s injury-plagued and inexperienced squad has dropped a school record 15 straight games and is only one loss shy of the season defeats mark of 21 set in 2007-08.

Central has three games remaining in the season and is in action just once next week as Loras College visits for a league doubleheader Wednesday, with the women’s game starting at 6 p.m. and the men’s contest at 8 p.m. at P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium. Loras outscored the Dutch at Dubuque Jan. 20, 98-72. The Duhawks took a 10-10 mark and a 5-6 conference record into a Saturday game at Buena Vista. A video Webcast of Wednesday’s games will be available through the Central athletics Web site at www.central.edu/athletics.

“We’ve got three chances left,” Nikkel said. “We practiced well this week. The kids are working hard. We’ll keep searching for answers and keep working.”

Central College