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NAPERVILLE — The No. 17 nationally ranked Illinois Wesleyan women's basketball team outscored North Central, 24-8, in the third quarter to secure a 78-68 triumph on Wednesday.

The Titans, who received a game-high 26 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks from Maddie Merritt, improved to 20-4 overall and 13-2 in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin.

"The third quarter, we definitely got it done," said IWU coach Mia Smith. "We had a much better tempo. I thought in the first half, we played slow.

"Maddie played a very solid ballgame. She did everything we asked her to do. We got the ball to her at the end so she could make (9 of 10) free throws."

Ashley Schneider added 18 points and Sydney Shanks 14 for the Titans, who outrebounded their host, 47-39. IWU also got the best of a 14-11 difference in turnovers.

"Ashley was really good," Smith said. "This is probably Ashley's best game with 18 points and six rebounds. She scored when we really needed her to."

North Central (7-17, 5-10) led, 20-19, after one quarter and managed a 31-31 tie at intermission. The Titans' domination of the third period included an 11-0 run to go up 50-35.

The Cardinals, who were outshot from the field .422 to .373, were led by freshman Allison Pearson's season-high 22 points. She sank four 3-pointers as North Central outscored IWU from beyond the arc, 24-9.

Page Desenberg added 15 points and Tyonne Howard 10 for the Cardinals, who also lost a Jan. 16 meeting with Wesleyan, 82-77.

North Central, which had 11 shots blocked, played without leading scorer Alanna Newsome (14.3 ppg), who is out for the season with a knee injury.

"I think North Central's record does not reflect how good they have gotten," Smith said.

Contact Randy Sharer at (309) 820-3405. Follow him on Twitter: @PG_sharer

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Reporter

Reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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