GARY | IU-Northwest women's basketball coach Ryan Shelton instilled a game-plan of clamping down and playing tenacious defense prior to Saturday afternoon's game against Ashford.
It's no secret when the RedHawks throw different defenses at opponents, but it was a strategy executed to perfection this time.
IU-Northwest forced Ashford (7-13) to commit 20 turnovers and held them to just 36.7 percent shooting from the field in a 60-42 win at the Savannah Center.
"I thought the girls did a great job of coming out and getting them back on their heels a little bit," Shelton said. "They weren't really sure what was coming at them. Our girls did a great job of executing our defensive schemes. One time it's zone, one time it's man-to-man and now it's a full-court press. We did a great job of keeping them off balance."
After playing Ashford close during the first half and going into the locker room with a 30-21 halftime lead, the RedHawks (10-6) caught fire after the break. The post play of Megan Holland — who had 12 of her 17 points in the first half — was a huge key.
"Megan had a great game for us, really understanding the mismatch we had in the post, which she could take advantage of," Shelton said.
The RedHawks took that nine-point lead and turned it into a 60-32 advantage with 3:20 left in the game. A big part of that was the play of Portage grad Nicki Monahan, who led the RedHawks with 23 points and went 4-for-5 from the 3-point line.
"She's a big-time player in big-time spots," Shelton said of Monahan. "She knocked down several clutch threes throughout the game and taking the ball to the basket and making things happen. She's just an excellent player."
Monahan and the rest of the RedHawks were able to settle down in the second half and take better care of the ball, committing five turnovers.
"We knew that we needed to play good defense and transition their turnovers into offense," Monahan said. "I think we did a better job in the second half of just slowing down the game. Everyone stepped up and got good stops."