The Potters (19-4) were 14 of 40 from the field on the Knox College gym floor and senior Sarah Livingston missed her first seven shots — all right under the basket — before making two layups in the fourth quarter. She finished with nine points.
“It was frustrating to watch — we did everything we needed to do right and then it wouldn’t go in,” said Morton coach Bob Becker, whose team has prevailed in this game three years in a row. “But I thought our girls brought a great effort and several of them played lots of minutes and this is our fourth game in a stretch of just a few days. This is a tough tournament — to win this is a big deal.”
Morton counters Galesburg’s “System” offense — mass substitutions and heavy reliance on 3-point shooting — with a patient, pass-oriented offense and man-to-man defense.
The Potters also rely on their height — 6-foot-1 Kate Byrne handled the ball and guarded Galesburg’s top scorer, 5-3 Jessica Lieber. And when the Streaks (17-9) tried to go inside, they faced 6-2 Livingston, who had 12 rebounds and four blocked shots.
Lieber finished with one 3-pointer and five points.
“Our defense kept us hanging around, but we needed to make shots,” said Galesburg coach Evan Massey. “And the problem was, we couldn’t get anything inside. I thought we got to the basket some, but Livingston took those away. So then you’re relying on perimeter things and we didn’t make enough shots to be a factor that way.”
Byrne scored 11 points for the Potters and Abbie Cox added 10 — including back-to-back 3s in the second quarter.
“Galesburg didn’t pressure us like they have in the past,” said Becker. “They came in with a little bit different game plan to countact what we do and they left Abbie Cox wide open and I thought, ‘We have to make an adjustment here.’ And Abbie can shoot it. And eventually, we had the green light to shoot whatever. ”
Hayley Kelso had success from the outside for Galesburg, hitting four 3s for 12 points. Sharron Diggins also had 12 for the Streaks and Casey Williams had five rebounds.