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College Basketball: Judson men’s, women’s teams fall hard to ranked Cardinal Stritch squads

Updated: January 9, 2014 9:46AM

In different ways, Judson University’s basketball teams found Cardinal Stritch to be everything they’d been billed to be Wednesday at the Lindner Center.

The Judson men had no way to slow the second-ranked, defending NAIA champions in a 109-70 defeat, while the Judson women had their problems on offense against the sixth-ranked Cardinal Stritch women 65-44.

“We saw why they’re ranked as high as they are,” Judson men’s coach Joel Cotton said. “They are a very fast offensive team.”

Judson (5-12, 2-3 CCAC) got 27 points from sophomore Turner Schwarz and 20 from freshman Andrew Eck for the game, and stayed close early as their coach had wanted. But in a matter of a five minutes the larger, faster Wolves blew the game open with a 21-5 run for a 37-18 lead.

“We were struggling to get back on defense because they were pushing the ball up the court so well,” Cotton said. “And as a result, they were getting some easy looks in transition.”

A 64 percent first half shooting from the floor (21-of-33) and 67 percent shooting from three-point land for the game for Cardinal Stritch (14-3, 6-0) said it all, as six players scored in double figures including Derek Semenas with a team-high 23.

“They can all shoot,” Eck said.

The Judson women, on the other hand, could defend but couldn’t shoot Thursday, and also had another tough blow for the program beyond the loss.

Dundee-Crown High’s Diamond Williams, Judson’s leading scorer (14.4 points per game), quit the team for personal reasons and plans to transfer to another school, according to Judson coach Kristi Cirone.

Without Williams, no one stepped up into the lead scoring role until the second half when guard Diamond Courts began driving and hitting or dishing. She finished with 17 points.

Judson (8-10, 3-3) came out at the start by missing its first 16 shots from the field, went 1-for-19 from the floor in the first half and didn’t get a field goal to drop until a couple minutes remained in the half.

“It was all about our shooting tonight,” Cirone said. “They had players who were in our faces and they bothered us at times, but mainly it was a bad night shooting the ball until we started doing some things different in the second half.”

Emily Neitzel led sixth-ranked Cardinal Stritch (15-1, 5-0) with 13, and former Bartlett player Janessa Baker got into the game off the bench to score a bucket and grab two rebounds.

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