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    Women's Basketball Squad Captures Roger L. White Invitational



    December 5, 1998

    Box Score

    EVANSTON, Ill. - Sophomore center Tami Sears (Libertyville, Ill./Libertyville) scored 10 of her 15 points in the game's final 4:19 to propel Northwestern University to a 65-59 come-from-behind victory over Western Kentucky in the championship game of the Roger L. White Invitational.

    With her team down by eight (59-51), Sears went on a tear, ripping down offensive rebounds and putting in layups. She got fouled on two of these occasions and each time, made the ensuing free throw. Her last layup came with 1:15 remaining in the contest and gave the Wildcats their first lead (61-59) since the 4:22 mark of the first half.

    The Lady Toppers (7-2) had a pair of chances to tie, but Shea Lunsford's (17 points, 17 rebounds) jumper rimmed out and ShaRae Mansfield's follow would not drop in the final minute. Junior forward Leslie Schock (Elgin, Ill./Elgin) hit a jumper and sophomore point guard Dana Leonard (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) nailed a layup for the final margin.

    Northwestern jumped out to a 7-2 lead with 16:33 to play in the first half. The Wildcats extended the lead to 16-7 on a Sears jumper at 13:20. Northwestern pushed ahead 20-9 at 11:40, its largest lead of the game, but the Lady Toppers came back with a 13-2 run, capped by a steal and layup from Rachel Byars to tie the game at 22-22 with 7:16 left. The Wildcats then went 4:16 without a field goal before senior guard Megan Chawansky (Avon Lake, Ohio/Avon Lake) broke the drought at 5:22 to give NU a 24-22 lead. Western Kentucky grabbed its first lead at 26-24 with 3:51 remaining in the half on two free throws by Katashia Witcher. After NU's 20-9 lead at 11:40, Western Kentucky outscored the Wildcats 21-7 the rest of the period to take a 30-27 halftime lead. Lunsford led all players with 15 points and seven rebounds at the break. Chawansky had nine points to lead Northwestern.

    Leonard and Chawansky each finished with 17 points. Sears had a team-high nine rebounds. Schock tallied 12 points and five boards.

    Leonard and Sears each earned a spot on the all-tournament team, while Chawansky was named the Roger L. White Invitational's Most Valuable Player for the second time in her career. She first won the distinction in 1996. Other members of the all-tournament team were Lunsford and Witcher and Maine's Jamie Cassidy.

    The Wildcats are enjoying a five-game winning streak, their longest since the 1995-96 season. They will bring a 5-2 record with them out to California 10 days from now when they take on Stanford (Dec. 15 at 9:30 p.m. CST) and Cal-Berkeley (Dec. 17 at 9:30 p.m. CST).