BLOOMINGTON — What do you do to snap a six-game losing streak, the worst your program has had since an eight-game swoon in 1991-92?
If you are the Illinois Wesleyan women’s basketball team, you go bowling. For the record, 5-foot-9 sophomore guard Megan O’Donnell rolled the top score.
With their fuel tank refilled with some fun, the Titans (6-9, 0-4) hope they can bowl over North Park (9-6, 1-3) in a 5 p.m. College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin game Saturday at Shirk Center.
The bowling idea came from IWU’s lone senior, Kasey Reaber, who had 24 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and five steals in Wednesday’s 85-80 loss at Millikin.
“She was in yesterday before practice to see if there was anything additionally she could do,” said Titan coach Mia Smith. “She has done a really good job with (her teammates).”
The goal of qualifying for the four-team CCIW Tournament is still alive for Smith.
“Our goal right now is to relax a little bit, enjoy the game, try to get better and win each game one at a time,” she said. “We just need to finish and play the way we know we can play.”
IWU is outscoring foes in the first half on average, but losing the second. Opponents have exploited the Titans’ lack of height and lack of post depth.
On the plus side, IWU ranks second in the CCIW in turnover margin at plus 7.25.
“I like the way we’re taking care of the ball this year,” Smith said.
North Park is coming off a 62-48 upset of Wheaton, which downed IWU, 72-46. The Vikings went with a 2-3 zone while Wheaton stuck with a perimeter attack that never warmed up.
North Park is led by 5-7 sophomore Liz Rehberger (15.2 ppg).
“She’s fast — very quick with the dribble,” Smith said. “She shoots a lot off of screens. When she uses a screen, we are going to want to double team that.
“In the fullcourt, we want to put as much pressure as we can on her with an individual and then when we get to a spot where we can put two on her, that’s what we’ll do.”
Smith believes it will be to Wesleyan's advantage if the contest is high scoring. She calls the CCIW race a wide-open affair.
“It is literally anybody’s for the taking,” she said. “In the past it’s been four of the eight teams are very competitive. So many different teams utilize so many different strengths.”