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Baltes, IWU women edge Wheaton

Baltes, IWU women edge Wheaton

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WHEATON  Lexi Baltes headed to the locker room at halftime Saturday with zero fouls against her.

With her Illinois Wesleyan teammates at 18 total personals and four key players with three each, Baltes had little company.

Baltes parlayed her foul freedom into a huge second half as the Titans held off Wheaton, 88-84, before a King Arena crowd of 871.

Wesleyan, which closes the regular season at home on Tuesday against North Park, improved to 17-7 overall and 11-2 in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin.

"That's the great thing about our team. We have enough scorers," Baltes said. "One person in foul trouble is not going to kill us."

That person was post player Shelby Jackson, who was limited to 15 minutes and fouled out with 10:30 remaining.

But Baltes scored 13 of her 21 points after halftime, including six in a 10-0 surge that boosted the IWU lead to 74-63.

"Lexi played with determination, confidence and will to win," said Wesleyan coach Mia Smith. "She was going to do whatever it takes."

Baltes also contributed seven rebounds, four assists and a key steal in the final minute.

Wheaton (19-6, 9-5) pulled within 85-82 on a Maria Panaggio 3-pointer with 18 seconds left. But IWU's Gabrielle Holness, who had earlier missed two free throws, connected on a pair from the line at the 13-second mark.

Colleen McMahon added 15 points, Katy Seibring 13 and Holness and Taylor Reaber 10 each for the Titans, who finished with 29 fouls and 21 turnovers.

"The officials thought we should have adjusted to what they were calling," said Smith, who had a discussion with the officiating crew at halftime. "But I do not like a game of free throws."

IWU connected on 29 of 41 from the line (70.7 percent), while the Thunder was at 66.7 percent (22 of 33).

Freshman Katie McDaniels paced all scorers with 29 points for Wheaton. Hannah Considine and Panaggio added 12 each.

The Titans and Thunder meet again Friday at 5 p.m. in the semifinals of the CCIW Tournament at Tarble Arena in Kenosha, Wis.

IWU is the No. 2 seed behind host and regular-season champion Carthage. Wheaton is the third seed.

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