Sandburg Women’s Hoops Hopes to Take Next Step Next Season
Friday, March 17, 2017 11:40 AM
Galesburg, ILDespite a two-point overtime loss that kept his team from reaching the national tournament, Carl Sandburg College women’s basketball coach Mike Bailey couldn’t find reason to be upset about the end of the Chargers’ season.
“They played their hearts out, and they definitely earned my respect,” Bailey said of Sandburg’s 64-62 overtime loss to fourth-ranked Kankakee last weekend in the Region IV District D championship.
Despite the heartbreaking finish, the Chargers had another remarkably successful season. Sandburg finished the season 17-11, won its second straight Arrowhead Conference championship (sharing the title with Illinois Valley) and reached the Region IV tournament championship game for the first time since 2009. It marked the ninth time in program history the Chargers won the Arrowhead crown and played for the Region IV title in the same season.
“We had our ups and downs throughout the year, but when you put it all together, this group accomplished a lot,” Bailey said. “As a coach, you always hope your last game of the season is your best game of the season, and it was for us.”
Sandburg will graduate five sophomores that helped the program to back-to-back conference titles — most notably forward Sabrina Clay (Galesburg, Ill./Galesburg), a second-team All-Region IV and second- team All-Arrowhead selection, and guard Kara Caldwell (Washington, Ill./Washington) a second-team all-conference pick — but will bring back a bevy of freshman contributors.
“In a few years, I hope we can look back at this group of sophomores as the group that helped turn this program around,” Bailey said. “We had a few down seasons, but for them to be a part of winning conference championships in both of their years here is a special thing.”
Maddy Lowe (Dunlap, Ill./Dunlap), the Chargers’ leading scorer at 13.6 points per contest, highlights a talented freshman class that will look to continue Sandburg’s run of success. Lowe was named to the All-Region IV first team in addition to being named the Arrowhead’s co-MVP. Other top returners include guard Alivia Cummings (Peoria, Ill./Limestone) and forwards Kierra Williams (Bartonville, Ill./Limestone) and Willow Porter (Wyoming, Ill./Stark County).
“We’ve got some pieces to replace for next year, but now these girls have an idea of what it takes to win a region championship and get to nationals,” Bailey said. “We almost did it this year. Hopefully we can take that next step.”