HANCOCK - Faced with a decided height disadvantage, Finlandia University women's basketball coach Jason Keefer decided to speed up the tempo Tuesday night against Lawrence University.
Keefer's strategy proved to be a sound one as the Lions scored a 69-63 victory at Paavo Nurmi Gym.
"They did have a lot of size underneath, so we decided to push the ball a little more," the FU skipper said. "I thought we did a good job in the first half. We might have bogged down a little in the second half, but we did enough to get a win and that's the important thing."
Finlandia’s Marissa Burke attacks the basket during Tuesday’s game against Lawrence at Paavo Nurmi Gym. Burke had five 3-pointers and 15 points in the Lions’ 69-63 win. (Paul Peterson photo)
Junior forward Hailey Gervais, the former Hancock High standout, sparked the first-half offense for the locals, netting 13 of her team-leading 17 points.
"Hailey Gervais did a nice job of running on the break," Keefer noted. "And I thought that Emma Cole came in and did a nice job off the bench. She gave us a big lift under the basket."
Cole, a 6-foot-2 freshman from Gwinn, abetted Gervais with six points and six rebounds in the first half as FU grabbed a 37-27 lead at intermission.
Lawrence - Amber Lisowe 16, Kassidy Rinehart 7, Alex Desher 21, Katie Schumacher 10, Bethany Hoster 4 Patsy Kealey 1, Jeannine Schultz 4. FG: 24-64; FT 8-14; Rebounds: 45 (Schumacher 15); Fouls: 14; Fouled out: None; 3-point FG: Lisowe 4, Deshler 3.
Finlandia - Marissa Burke 15, Paige Yoho 12, Hailey Gervais 17, Brierra Ruska 12, Megan Turunen 3, Kristen Fallon 2, Emma Cole 8. FG: 27-66; FT: 7-9; Rebounds: 39 (Cole 8); Fouls: 15; Fouled out: None: 3-point FG: Burke 5, Gervais 2, Yoho 1.
Halftime score: FU 37, Lawrence 27.
After falling back by 15 points early in the second portion of the contest, the visiting Vikings battled back to make it a game.
On three occasions, the Wisconsin squad whittled the margin down to six points - the last time before the end at 61-55 with three minutes to play.
Sophomore forward Marissa Burke and sophomore guard Paige Yoho quelled the rallying Vikings, however.
Burke (Watersmeet) nailed her fifth three-point basket of the game and Yoho (Negaunee) had a hoop and two free throws down the stretch.
"I told the kids that you can never relax in any game ... and we might have," Keefer commented.
"We're not a good enough team that anyone is going to lay down for us. But Lawrence did a good job of making it close."
Now 3-5 on the season, Finlandia was paced by Gervais with 17. Burke tossed in 15 more and Brierra Ruska and Yoho, who also had six assists, chipped in a dozen markers each.
Cole was good for eight points and a team-best 10 boards.
Lawrence, now 1-7, received a game-high 21 points from Alex Deshler. Amber Lisowe notched 16 more, while Katie Schumacher also contributed 10 points and 15 rebounds as LU held a 45-39 rebounding margin.
The Lions will host Alverno College in a 6 p.m. Saturday tilt.