Sunday, August 18, 2019
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

No. 2 Eagles pass chemistry test

The Kirkwood Eagles feel good about themselves when they make a good play, but they seem happiest when one of their teammates does something even better.

It's called chemistry and it's been a key ingredient for the second-ranked Eagles this season.

Kirkwood collected its 12th straight victory Saturday and remained in control of the ICCAC conference race with an 80-39 victory over Iowa Central in a women's basketball game at Johnson Hall.

Sophomore point guard Tay Wilson led the Eagles (22-3, 8-0) with 19 points, five steals and four assists, but her biggest smiles were for the other Eagles who joined the fun.

Freshman Mackenzie Jenkins popped off the bench and popped in four 3-pointers for 14 points. Sophomore Megan Axcell hit three triples and scored 11 points in the triumph. Many other Eagles also played well and there were lots of smiles go around.

"I feel like chemistry is very important," said Wilson. "I feel like we all need to be happy for each other. And if we see somebody down, pick them back up, because we need everyone to win.

"It's not just a one-person show or a two-person show."

Coach Kim Muhl has another deep club this season and tries to give everyone a chance. His second-teamers often produce as much as the starters and it's one of the reasons the Eagles are able to wear down their opponents during the course of 40 minutes.

Muhl is never sure who will score the most points for the team, but he's confident the numbers will take care of themselves.

"I never really worry about it," he said. "I just think it's going to happen from somebody, because we guard well. As long as you guard and rebound, you have a chance."

Eleven Eagles got at least 12 minutes of action Saturday. Two others had significant time as well in the romp.

Kirkwood led 20-3 late in the first quarter and was never challenged.

"We're starting to come out of the gate a little better," said Muhl. "I think we're playing better.

"We're playing pretty well together. We've got a lot of weapons sometimes."

Muhl stresses the importance of sharing the ball and caring more for your teammates than yourself.

"That's a hard thing to get through young people's heads," he acknowledged. "If you're happier for your teammate, it makes it a lot easier on the basketball floor."

Kirkwood has a two-game lead over 15th-ranked NIACC and DMACC in the conference standings with six games remaining. The Eagles play at NIACC Wednesday night.

Brittany West scored 13 points for Iowa Central (12-12, 4-4).

IOWA CENTRAL (39): Okinaka 1 0-0 3, O'Donoghue 1 0-0 3, Terwilliger 0 0-0 0, Rolling 1 0-0 2, West 4 2-2 13, Carter 1 3-3 5, Cross 2 0-3 4, Ward 1 1-2 3, Toto 1 0-0 3, Savary 0 2-4 2, Mosley 0 1-2 1. Totals 12 9-16 39.

KIRKWOOD (80): Wilson 6 4-6 19, Axcell 4 0-0 11, Ajak 2 1-2 6, Puok 1 1-2 3, Usher 2 0-0 4, Brown 1 0-0 2, Hurst 3 0-2 7, Taylor 0 0-0 0, Robinson 1 3-4 5, Mullinnix 0 0-0 0, Mensen 2 0-0 4, Jenkins 5 0-0 14, Wooldridge 2 1-1 5. Totals 29 10-17 80.

Halftime - Kirkwood 40, Iowa Central 16. 3-point goals - Iowa Central 6 (West 3, Okinaka 1, O'Donoghue 1, Toto 1), Kirkwood 12 (Jenkins 4, Wilson 3, Axcell 3, Ajak 1, Hurst 1).


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