AURORA, Ill. - The Rockford University women's basketball team dropped its final road game of the season on Wednesday, 76-67 to the Aurora University Spartans. Although the Regents got off to a fast start early in the game, Aurora was in control for much of the evening. After the Spartans retook the lead midway through the first quarter, they would not relinquish it for the remainder of the game. Two of of the deciding factors were Aurora's ability to knock down threes and the Regents struggles at the free throw line. The Spartans made 13 three-pointers and shot 48.1% from beyond the arc compared to 6 three-pointers for the Regents on 27.3% shooting. It was a similar story at the free throw line as Rockford missed 13 free throws and shot just 53.6% compared to Aurora missing only 5 free throws and shooting 79.2% at the charity stripe.
It was a tough first half for the Regents as they were playing catch-up nearly the entire way after leading in the opening moments. Rockford stormed out of the gates strong taking a 10-3 lead less than 4 minutes into the game. Freshman Taylor May (East Moline, Ill.) was particularly effective early on scoring six of the Regents first ten points including draining a three-pointer to jump-start the RU offense. However Aurora wasted little time erasing the RU lead as the Spartans promptly went on a 16-1 over the next three and a half minutes to take a 19-11 advantage, their largest of the half. Rockford would slowly chip away at the Spartan lead and get within four points at the end of the quarter when Nicole Silvers (Byron, Ill.) knocked down a jumper in the closing seconds to make it a 22-18 game. Unfortunately the Spartans opened the second quarter strong extending their lead back to eight points at 26-18. The Regents immediately answered right back with a 7-0 run of their own led by four points from senior Mallorie Getzelman (Byron, Ill.) as Rockford closed to within a single point at 26-25. The remainder of half went back and forth as the Spartans ultimately took a 36-32 lead into the break.
Rockford was never really able to get on track in the second half as Aurora led wire-to-wire. The game remained close in the opening portion of the third period as the Spartan lead hovered around five points. However with 3:02 remaining, Aurora went on 7-0 run to jump out to a 50-40 lead with less than two minutes left in the quarter. The Regents and Spartans then traded baskets for the remainder of the period as Aurora took that 10-point lead into the fourth quarter. Things did not get much better in the final 10 minutes as each time Rockford seemed to get within striking distance, Aurora quickly pulled away. The first of those occasions came with 6:17 remaining when Rockford scored 7 straight points to chop the Spartan lead down to just 4 at 57-53. However, Aurora quickly went on a 9-3 run of its own to push its lead back to double-digits at 66-56. The Regents were able cut the deficit down to just 6 points multiple times in the closing minutes, but unfortunately the Spartans made their free throws down the stretch to secure the victory and the season sweep.
All five of Rockford's starters scored in double-figures on Wednesday. Mallorie Getzelman scored a team-high 15 points with 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. Tajanae Key (Glendale Heights, Ill.) tallied her third double-double of the season with 10 points, 12 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 block. Nicole Silvers had a good all-around game finishing with 13 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Taylor May and Casey Pettit (Rockford, Ill.) were the final two starters to crack double-digits in scoring with 12 and 11 points respectively.
The RU women's basketball team concludes its season on Saturday, February 18 at home against MSOE. Tip-off is set for 2:00 p.m. in the Seaver Center.