By Seth J. Walker
Southfield, Michigan- The 20th-ranked Lawrence Tech Blue Devils (17-4, 9-3 WHAC) continued their winning ways Wednesday night by beating Northwestern Ohio (7-13, 3-8 WHAC), 74-52. Blue Devils senior guard Hayley Walkowski became the fourth player in program history to reach 1,000 career points, joining Hali Butler (’16), Allison Kitchen (’17) and current teammate, junior Nicole Buckingham. The milestone moment game near the midway point of the final quarter.
“It’s awesome,” Walkowski said. “I’ve been working hard for this for four years; having come back from an ACL injury, my freshman/sophomore year, but I have to give it to my teammates. They help me and I help them and that’s how we get it.”
Blue Devil head coach Kyline Spiegel said that one of the other coaches in the conference was surprised when Walkowski received NAIA Player of the Week honors, asking the question “when did she get good?”
“I kind of laughed about it, but I said she never had to be,” Blue Devils head coach Kylene Spiegel said. “She played with Hali Butler and some really good kids, and she never had to raise her game to that next standard and (now) she’s really stepped up it’s been fun. It’s been fun to watch from last year to this year and I couldn’t be more proud to coach her and to see her get her thousandth point.”
Walkowski’s milestone is all the more special considering that all three other players in this group are past/present teammates of hers.
“I’m honored to be part of that group,” Walkowski said. “All three of those players are actually one of the greatest players that have come through LTU women’s basketball and being part of that club is prestigious and I’m glad to be written by their names.”
The irony in all of this is that Walkowski had to ware a different number than usual, switching to number five after her usual number 12 came up missing.
Another major storyline involved Blue Devils assistant coach Kaylee Patten coaching against sister, Emily, a freshman guard for Northwestern Ohio. Despite the younger Patten entering the game as her team’s leading scorer (14.1 ppg), she was held to only three points in the first half, despite finishing with 12.
“It’s always hard when I really want Emily to do well, but I want to win, that’s just nature,” Kaylee Patten said. “I think it definitely helps to everything she’s going to do, kind of like what’s she’s even thinking.”
Sophomore guard Kaitlyn Smith tied Walkowski with a game-high 14 points. Having emerged as a three-point threat of the bench as a of late, Smith made four field goals from beyond the arc.
“Coach really helped me on my confidence,” Smith said. “She just tells me to shoot the ball whenever I’m open. I think it’s all mental for me. I just need to forget what’s going on, on the outside and just shoot the ball like I know how to.”
Sophomore forward Danielle Hanson added 13 points, while fellow sophomore forward Rachel Price had 12 rebounds and junior guard Cherilyn Banas had 10 assists.
The Blue Devils will now try to avenge one of their three conference losses as they prepare for Saturday road game against Rochester College at 1pm.