Both of Wheaton’s basketball teams finished their regular season play this week.
Wheaton’s men’s basketball team was unable to close out the regular season on the right foot after two conference losses to North Central College and Carroll University.
Against North Central, the Thunder started out strong with a fast two-point lead, but throughout the remainder of the half North Central was more successful offensively than Wheaton was. In the second half, the Cardinals maintained their double-digit lead over the Thunder, except for a few minutes in near the middle of the half. Wheaton made three of their 26 three-pointer attempts fall through the hoop. Junior Aston Francis led the team with 20 points and eight rebound but was 1-13 from outside the three-point line.
Against Carroll University, Wheaton started out with a five-point lead early on but fell behind Carroll as the first half continued. Wheaton came back to tie and gain leads on Carroll three different times throughout the remainder of the game, but Carroll ultimately came out on top at the end. Against Carroll, the Thunder scored eight three-pointers out of their 23 attempts, an improvement from their last game. In contrast, Wheaton was much less successful at the free-throw line, making eight of their 19 free-throw attempts.
The Thunder are ranked fourth in the upcoming CCIW Championship Tournament. They will play the number-one seed of the tournament, Augustana College, at Augustana College at 7:00 p.m. on Feb. 23. If Wheaton wins, they will advance to the championship to play the winner of the Illinois Wesleyan University vs. North Central College game on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 7:00 p.m.
The Wheaton women’s basketball team competed in their last regular season game on Saturday, Feb. 17. The Thunder’s 67-30 victory over North Central extended their win streak to 15 games.
Already fourteen points ahead by the end of the first quarter, the Thunder were able to give their main starters more rest during this game before the conference championship games this weekend. Sophomore Hannah Frazier was able to score 12 points during the 18 minutes she spent on the court while junior Devin Kyler and senior Kelly Lawson both played for at least 25 minutes and scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Wheaton women are ranked second in the conference. Illinois Wesleyan University, ranked 20th in the country by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, won the title of “CCIW Champions” because they had the best overall and conference record during the regular season. However, Wheaton could still earn the title of “CCIW Tournament Champions” if they win the CCIW Tournament.
The Wheaton women’s basketball team will face the number-three seed Carthage College tomorrow, Feb. 23 at 5:00 p.m. at IWU. IWU will play the fourth-seeded Elmhurst College at 7:00 p.m. on the same day, and the CCIW Championship game will be on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 7:00 p.m. at IWU.