Cassie Dumoulin got going in a big way in the second half. She scored 20 of her game-high 24 points after the break to lead Elgin Community College past Waubonsee College, 66-62, in the first round of the Region IV, District L women's basketball playoffs in Elgin Thursday night.
The Spartans advance to a semifinal matchup at 2 p.m. Saturday at Illinois Valley College.
While Cassie Dumoulin struggled with her shot in the first half, her sister, Alex Dumoulin, scored 15 points to lead ECC to a 30-23 halftime lead. Then Cassie Dumoulin found her stroke, scoring 11 straight points in one stretch. Alex Dumoulin finished with 17 points. Carly Saraceno and DiJon Smith added 11 points apiece for ECC (25-6), which punctuated its first Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference title with the playoff victory.
"I got some easy looks for layups because of my teammates, and it started to roll," said Cassie Dumoulin. "I'm glad it turned on, because it was kind of scary there for awhile."
The teams traded runs in the second half, but it was ECC that had the finishing kick. First, Maxzine Rossler scored 8 points during a 14-3 run as the Chiefs took a 38-35 lead, their first since early in the game. The Spartans answered with an 11-0 spurt of their own, with Cassie Dumoulin scoring the final 9 points.
The Chiefs then scored 7 in a row to go ahead 58-55. The lead changed hands twice more before a final 7-0 kick by the Spartans to put it away.
"I thought when we got the lead by 7 at the half that we would kind of build on that lead," said ECC coach Jerry McLaughlin. "Cassie did not have a great shooting night, but then when it came time to step up, she stepped up."
"We wanted to give the fans a little excitement, I guess, give them a little heart attack," Cassie Dumoulin said.
Rossler and Samantha Alvis each scored 18 points for Waubonsee, which had won 11 in a row after starting 7-12. Alvis and Rossler combined for 25 of the Chiefs' 39 second-half points.
"We'd get up by 1 or 2, I think we got up by 3 at one point, and we just couldn't extend the lead," said Waubonsee coach Dana Wagner. "But Elgin's a good team, and we battled."
Smith made some big plays down the stretch for the Spartans. She converted a traditional 3-point play to put ECC ahead 55-54, then, after Waubonsee regained the lead, came up with a putback to put the Spartans ahead for good.