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Crete-Monee's Lindzy Cox goes in for the basket against Rich Central. | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media
Lindzy Cox does a lot of things well on the court for Crete-Monee, but one role she takes really seriously is being a step-up performer when things get tough.
Especially when a teammate is on the bench with foul trouble.
“It’s very important to me that I have my teammates’ backs until they get back in the game,” she said. “It’s important (in those situations) to keep your composure.”
Cox kept her composure and basically applied the knockout punches for the Warriors Tuesday night in a 48-33 Southland victory over visiting Rich Central.
The 5-foot-7 guard scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, with 12 of the points coming in the second half. Marsha Howard added 13 points and six rebounds, and Ashley Henry 10 points and 11 rebounds as Crete improved to 8-2, 3-0.
Rich Central (7-4, 2-1) was led by Tayana Wilson (11 points) and Vivian Imarenezor (seven points).
Cox was clutch after Howard, who had scored 11 of Crete’s first 17 points, committed her fourth foul with 3:13 remaining and the Warriors clinging to a 21-17 lead. She closed the third period on back-to-back possessions with a free throw and then a driving layup at the buzzer to help them extend to 28-21, then nailed a three-pointer and added seven more points in the fourth quarter.
Even as Crete pulled away in the final five minutes, however, for most of the night it was still a far cry from the first time the two teams played at the Marist Thanksgiving tournament, a 52-26 blowout.
“I don’t think it was really any difference with our defense, I just think it was us controlling ourselves (on offense),” Henry said.
Indeed, the Warriors had myriad chances to use their height advantage inside in the first half, but missed several layups. The Warriors led just 8-6 after one quarter, and the game was tied at 14-14 at intermission.
The Warriors were just 5-of-18 from the field in the first half, as opposed to a much crisper 6-of-10 in the third period.
They did, however, dominate from start to finish on the boards. The final rebound tally was 40-21 in favor of Crete.
Also, the Warriors were able to control Central’s speedy point guard like no other team has. Averaging just under 20 points coming in, Wilson was held to 11 points, the same tally she had in the Thanksgiving meeting. Wilson was only able to penetrate Crete’s defensive line of 6-foot Henry, 6-1 Howard and 6-1 Sarah Humphrey successfully on sparse occasion.
“They’re huge,” Central coach Craig Marek said. “They get in there, and a lot of the things that (Wilson) does she usually gets the calls. She didn’t get them tonight, and that’s the way it goes.
“We just have to find other players to step up if Tayana can’t get it. I think we have those players, they just don’t have confidence in themselves yet.”