DIXON – The Dixon Duchesses had a tall challenge coming into their Northern Illinois Big 12 West matchup with Geneseo Tuesday night.
That challenge got even taller, as they were missing key post player Carly Hartle, and the Maple Leafs took full advantage of that to secure a 49-36 victory over Dixon (10-7, 2-2 NIB-12).
Geneseo (9-8, 2-2 NIB-12) senior Jamie DeFauw jumped out to a quick start. The post player took advantage of Hartle's absence and had 12 first-quarter points, keying the Maple Leafs to a 16-6 lead.
"Geneseo made some shots, and we really struggled to get into our offense," Dixon coach Luke Ravlin said. "We didn't do the best job defending, and they took advantage of that. They just played good basketball."
In the second, DeFauw ran into some foul trouble, and this helped the Duchesses start to find some life. However, Dixon went into the break behind 23-11.
Geneseo extended its lead to 20 points halfway through the third before Dixon senior Brooke Bailey started knocking down more shots. She scored seven points in the final 3 minutes of the quarter to get the Geneseo lead down to 33-18.
"I was really happy with the way we came out and kept fighting in the second half," Ravlin said. "I thought our kids didn't have quit in them, and we'll keep working and playing. We will see them in our final game of the season."
The fourth quarter belonged to Brooke Bailey. A long 3-pointer from the right wing started things off. Another attempt from the same spot resulted in three free throws that turned into three more points for Bailey.
A pair of free throws on the ensuing possession by Bailey brought her team back to a single-digit deficit at 35-26 with 6 minutes remaining.
"As a team, we stayed pretty calm," said Bailey, "considering they were up by a lot. We stayed composed. They took their shots and that got me open."
However, Bailey picked up her fourth foul midway through the fourth, helping Geneseo regain its footing.
The Leafs started driving hard to the basket, which allowed them to get to the line.
Although they missed nine free throws in the final quarter, they made enough to continue to extend the lead. The real stinger for Dixon came when Aubrey Anderson got a rebound off a missed Geneseo free throw and put it back in to give the Leafs a double-digit lead once again with 4 minutes to play.
"We just didn't play as we should have," said Bailey. "We came out a little slower than they did. We didn't quite believe that this was our game when we should have. If the basketball game was only three quarters, we're in it. But it's not, it's four, and things just didn't work our way today."
Star of the game: Brooke Bailey, Dixon, 29 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals
Key performers: Molly DeBrock, Geneseo, 21 points; Jaimie DeFauw, Geneseo 14 points
Up next: Morris at Dixon, 6 p.m. Saturday