The Milwaukee women’s basketball team earned a 79-72 victory over Cleveland State with a full house during their annual “School Day” game at the Klotsche Center on Thursday morning.
Thursday’s game marks the Panthers eighth-largest home crowd in history with 2,610 students and Panther fans in attendance.
Coming off of two straight losses on the road, the Panthers used the home crowd as motivation for their return home.
“This is the perfect environment to be down in a game and try to make a comeback,” said Milwaukee head coach Kyle Rechlicz. “You can just feed off of their energy. We’re really appreciative of all the schools that came out and supported our team. They were loud. They were energetic. They really helped us get this win today.”
Milwaukee was tested early by Cleveland State’s offense. CSU scored four triples in the first quarter alone. CSU also forced several turnovers on Milwaukee, which they capitalized on with a scoring run that brought the largest lead of the game of 15. The Panthers managed to put two points on the board in the opening two minutes and wouldn’t score again until the final two minutes of the quarter.
Khayla Livingston led Cleveland State with 24 points.
The Panthers gained energy and stayed in the game with offense of their own. A couple of layups, which resulted in trips to the line for and-one plays swiftly changed the momentum of the game. A shot from deep and another layup with just one minute left before halftime cut the double-digit lead to three.
“I was really interested in seeing where we were at because our offense hasn’t been flowing very well,” said Rechlicz. “It feels great to put up 79 points on a really good team and to know that our team is starting to click in that area.”
Triples and and-one plays would sustain the Panthers coming out of the locker room into the second half. The Panthers gained their first lead of the game by one at the start of the third quarter, which grew to nine.
CSU found their offense again for a short span to start the fourth, but clutch back-to-back three’s from Bailey Failey sealed the deal for Milwaukee.
Four Panthers reached double-digits. Jenny Lindner led with a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds. Jamie Reit had a career-high 16 points. Farley finished with 13 points. McKaela Schmelzer added 12 points.
Milwaukee is back in action at the Klotsche on Saturday at 2 p.m. against Youngstown State.
“We’re really trying to go on a streak here,” said Rechlicz.
“We lost two, and the last time we lost two, we went on an eight-game win streak, so we’re trying to see if we can mimic that in a way. Youngstown State is a great team. They’ve got a great inside presence, so we have to be ready on the defense side. But I think our team is ready to get on a roll again.”