Krei’s strong second half leads team to Game Time win

BY SAM ODEYEMI | JUNE 30, 2011 7:20 AM

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A strong second half by Kelly Krei, Melissa Dixon, and K.K. Armstrong was just what Cullen/Falbo needed to get past Two Rivers/Coach’s Corner in a Game Time League game on Wednesday, 74-63.

Krei, an Iowa senior forward, struggled in the first half and wound up scoreless in the period. She found her shot late in the second half, though, and scored 10 points to help her team maintain its late lead. She scored a crucial three-point play to put her team ahead for good late in the second half.

“All good shooters miss shots, but Kelly came out really aggressve in the second half — [she was] making shots and spreading the ball,” said Armstrong, a Northern Iowa point guard.

Armstrong scored 12 second-half points to finish with 17 for the game, on 7-of-14 shooting. No shot was more important than the 3-pointer she drained from the right wing to push her team’s lead to 74-62 with less than a minute left in regulation.

Cullen (2-0) also received help from incoming Iowa freshman Melissa Dixon, who made four crucial 3-pointers in the second half to keep the momentum with her team. She finished with 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting.

“We had a lot of players step up tonight,” Krei said. The team as a whole made eight more 3-point field goals than Two Rivers (0-2), and the trio of Armstrong, Dixon, and Krei combined for 44 points.

The three are averaging a combined 47 points in the two games their team has played.

Cullen stepped up its defense in the second half. Armstrong was particularly solid, pressuring the other team into turnovers and getting her hands into the passing lanes to force steals.

The rest of the squad appeared to feed off her energy, and it led to several easy buckets in transition. The players chased after loose balls and made some key stops to prevent easy points.

“Our defense was much more aggressive,” coach JoAnn Hamlin said. “I told them at halftime that we needed to make more hustle plays to gain more possessions.”

Two Rivers began the game very aggresively. Rachel Madrigal scored 17 first-half points, Kathryn Reynolds controlled the tempo, and Bianca Dufelemeier spread the wealth with six assists.

Cullen slammed on the brakes after intermission, though, and held Madrigal scoreless from the field in the second half.

“When your shots aren’t falling, you still have to play defense, and our team did a great job on defense,” Krei said.

The team also outrebounded Two Rivers by a 41-35 margin.

“We weren’t getting rebounds at first, but once we did, we were able to push the ball — that made a huge difference in the game,” Armstrong said.

Once they were able to pick up the tempo, it opened up the floor for transition 3-pointers, and Krei was able to attack the basket.

Iowa guard Jaime Printy missed her second-straight game for Two Rivers with a wrist injury.

Both teams will be back in action on July 6 in North Liberty.

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