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    Women's Basketball Captures 58-53 Victory Over Northwestern In Season Opener.
     

     
    Senior LeKesha Williams scored a career-high 28 points against Northwestern on Friday night.
     
    Senior LeKesha Williams scored a career-high 28 points against Northwestern on Friday night.
     
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    Nov. 22, 2002

    Box Score

    Evanston, Ill. - New University of Illinois at Chicago head women's basketball coach Lisa Ryckbosch won her first career collegiate game as a head coach as her troops earned the 58-53 non-conference victory in their season-opener over Northwestern at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Friday night.

    The victory marked UIC's first win over a Big Ten team since November 29, 1994, when the Flames upended Michigan, 62-48, in their home opener.

    "It's a great win for the program," Ryckbosch said. "This a group that I'm having a lot of fun coaching.

    "I want a team that's going to play hard," Ryckbosch continued. "I would want a team that is smart and coachable, and a team that is resilient enough for when things don't go the way that we've laid it out, that they're able to handle it.

    "That's exactly what this team did today."

    UIC improves to 1-0 on the campaign, while Northwestern falls to 0-1.

    Senior guard LeKesha Williams poured in a career-high 28 points to lead the Flames, while teammate Jaysie Chambers chipped in 16 points and ripped down eight boards.

    UIC came out on fire as the Flames shot a blistering 51.7 percent from the field to jump out to a 36-26 lead over Northwestern heading into halftime. Williams led the charge as she poured in 17 points on six-of-10 shooting, including a pair of three pointers.

    UIC struggled in the second half as the Flames were held to 21.4 percent shooting in the final 20 minutes, including only registering one field goal over the last 10 minutes.

    But what an important field goal it was.

    With the Flames holding on to a narrow 48-43 lead, junior Tina Thompson recorded a steal and was immediately fouled by Ifeoma Okonkwo. Thompson hit the front end of the one-and-one to extend UIC's lead to 49-43.

     

     

    Thompson missed her second charity toss, Chambers grabbed the rebound and quickly dished out the pass to Williams, who calmly drained her third three-pointer to put the game out of reach for Northwestern.

    "We were struggling offensively and my philosophy has always been: 'If we don't score, they're not going to score'," Ryckbosch said. "That's what we did in the second half and that was the difference in the ballgame."

    Sophomore center Sarah Kwasinski led Northwestern with 16 points and eight rebounds, while guard Samantha McComb added 11 points for the Wildcats.

    UIC will be back in action on Sunday afternoon, as the Flames will host Akron at 1:30 p.m. at the UIC of Pavilion.