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Women finish as CCAC runners-up

By Bill Koester
On February 28, 2012

The PUC women's basketball team made a strong showing in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference.

The team finished the season with a record of 21-9, with a 10-2 record in conference play.  This was enough for home court advantage in their first two games in the tournament.

The opening game, Feb. 21 against Trinity Christian, was the type of one-sided contest common to the first round.  PUC never fell behind, and controlled the game in every respect.  The final score was 86-60 in PUC's favor.

As the game went on, and the lead grew, the starters were pulled and the bench got some substantial playing time.

"When we can, we play everybody," head coach Tom Megyesi said.  "I'm very pleased [the bench] got the opportunity to play."

PUC's opening win awarded them a second home game in the semifinals on Feb. 23.  Their opponent was Trinity International, and the game was another blowout, though at times closer than the final score suggested.

Up 17 at halftime, PUC allowed their opponents to chip away in the opening minutes of the second half, getting the game down to a 10-point lead.  However, Megyesi was prepared, and his team adjusted.

"We slowed the ball down at the eight-minute mark," Megyesi said.  "We played more controlled."  It worked, as PUC pulled out to  a 92-67 final.

The game featured strong performances from Brooklyn Short (18 points) and Amanda Gaskin (11 points, 11 rebounds).  The big star, though, was Stephaine Beck.  The departing senior scored 28 in her final home game, setting a school record for three pointers (going 6-9) in the process.

"I'm definitely happy with my performance," Beck said.  "And the team's.  It's a great way to go out."

Beck's six were a part of 10 total threes for the women on this night.  This performance was strong, but, according to Megyesi, unintentional.

"We take our shots the [opposing] defense gives us," he said.

The win Feb. 23 earned PUC a spot in the CCAC Championship game on Feb. 25.  Their opponent was Cardinal Stritch, forcing them to make the trip to Milwaukee for the final.

"We held teams to respectable points," Beck said.  "We definitely have confidence, whoever it is [that we play]."

The final was a close contest, with PUC up 27-25 at the half.  But Cardinal Stritch pulled away, and won 71-63.

Despite coming up short, the team was proud of at least making the final game a fight.

"We were so close and we never gave up," guard Alex Starr said.  "I'm so proud of my team tonight and this whole season."

PUC will find out this week if the women's efforts were enough to make an appearance in the NAIA tournament.

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