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Russell's and Silvers' Career Nights Propel Rockford Past Alverno

Sammi Russell
Sammi Russell

MILWAUKEE, Wis. - Nicole Silvers (Bryon, Ill.) poured in a career-high 23 points, while Sammi Russell (Winnebago, Ill.) finished with a career-high 14 points and a career-high 11 rebounds to lead Rockford (3-8, 1-5 NACC) to a 66-60 win Saturday night over the Alverno College Inferno (4-7, 1-5 NACC). The Regents' size and toughness on the interior was ultimately the difference in a game that featured 2 ties and a whopping 18 lead changes. Rockford outrebounded Alverno 47-28, which led to a 15-5 advantage in second chance points as the Regents picked up their second straight win.

Rockford once again got off to a great start as the Regents jumped out to a early lead in the opening moments of the game. The Regents scored seven of the game's first nine points, led by three from Neve Yerk (Belvidere, Ill.), as Rockford held a 7-2 advantage less than three minutes into the first quarter. However the Inferno would catch fire from the floor over the next several minutes using an 8-2 run of its own, to jump out in front 10-9. Fortunately the Regents closed the quarter strong with a 6-2 spurt led by four points from Silvers, as the Regents took a 15-12 lead into the second period. 

The second quarter was especially volatile as their were a total of seven lead changes over a five minute time frame. After the Regents had twice built their lead to at the time a game-high five points, thanks to back-to-back buckets from Russell, the Inferno promptly went on a 6-0 run to take a 20-19 lead with exactly six minutes remaining in the first half. The game then went back-and-forth over the next five minutes before Alverno went into the break leading 28-27.

The Regents struggled in the early portion of the third quarter before ultimately taking control in the final minutes. With the Regents leading 29-28, the Inferno scored seven straight points to take their largest lead of the night at 35-29 with 4:48 remaining in the period. However Rockford once again put forth a superb performance in the closing minutes of a quarter, outscoring the Inferno 16-7 to regain the lead and take a 45-42 advantage in the fourth quarter. Nicole Silvers and Lexie Collins (Earlville, Ill.) led the charge scoring 6 and 4 points respectively. 

Rockford never trailed in the fourth quarter as the Regents had an answer each time the Inferno threatened. The Regents got all 25 points in the period from just three players led by 11 from Nicole Silvers. Sammi Russell opened the final quarter strong scoring four of her six points over the first 3:03 seconds. Linzy Keller (Rockford, Ill.) then scored Rockford's next three points as the Regents clung to a 3-point lead with 4:09 remaining. From that moment forward, Nicole Silvers took over the game, scoring 11 of Rockford's final 14 points. Silvers was especially effective at the free throw line, going a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe in the final 35 seconds, to give Rockford a 66-60 victory. 

Nicole Silvers led all scorers with a career-high 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting. She rounded out her evening with 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal. Sammi Russell recorded her first collegiate double-double with a career-high 14 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Lexie Collins and Linzy Keller each added 8 points, while Katie Hart (Davis Junction, Ill.) and Neve Yerk had 7 rebounds apiece. 

The RU women's basketball team returns to the court on Wednesday, January 3 at home against Marian University. Tip-off is set for 7:15 PM in the Seaver Center.