The graduating sophomores on the Kirkwood women's basketball team were honored after their choppy victory over Iowa Lakes on Saturday, but otherwise there was not a whole lot to celebrate at Johnson Hall.
It took the second-ranked Eagles more than seven minutes to make their first field goal in a sluggish 59-44 outing that lacked passion and execution for most of the afternoon.
"That was an ugly one," Kirkwood Coach Kim Muhl acknowledged.
Pretty or not, the Eagles raised their records to 24-3 overall and 10-0 in the conference with their 14th win a row. The Eagles own a three-game lead in the ICCAC standings with four games remaining as they march toward another league title.
Muhl was happy to leave the gym with a 15-point victory considering the circumstances on Sophomore Day.
"It's hard when it's snowing and they're worried about their parents getting here. They lose focus," he said.
"And Lakes is playing better basketball. They're physical. We played just good enough to win."
Muhl can be hard on his players, but quickly let them off the hook so they could join their relatives for cake after the game.
"You can't go crazy on them," he said. "They've done a hell of a job so far. Obviously we weren't real good today, but we won.
"A lot of people would like to win by 15. We'll move forward."
Kirkwood enjoyed a dramatic 70-68 victory at NIACC on Wednesday on a last-second shot by Tayana Wilson and Muhl thought that might have contributed to an emotional letdown Saturday.
Kirkwood clobbered Iowa Lakes in bench points, 31-4, a trademark of numerous wins this year. The Lakers had only seven players in uniform and finished the game with five available players after one player got hurt and another fouled out.
Lemia Ntor-Ue scored 13 points for Iowa Lakes (11-15, 4-6).
Kirkwood trailed 12-8 after one quarter, then moved ahead for a slim 27-24 lead at intermission. The Eagles gave themselves some breathing room by outscoring the visitors 20-9 in the third quarter for a 47-33 margin entering the fourth quarter.
The Eagles have two home games and two road games left in the regular season, beginning Wednesday night against Southeastern at Johnson Hall.
"We're in great shape," said Muhl. "We just need to take care of business and see what happens."
IOWA LAKES (44): Ruiz 2 2-4 8, Perez 1 0-0 3, Wassink 4 0-0 8, Jackson 3 0-0 8, Ntor-Ue 3 7-7 13, Simms 2 0-0 4, Reynolds 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 9-11 44.
KIRKWOOD (59): Wilson 4 0-0 9, Puok 0 2-2 2, Axcell 0 0-0 0, Ajak 1 3-4 5, Usher 4 2-4 12, Jenkins 3 0-0 6, Hurst 1 0-0 2, Taylor 2 0-0 4, Robinson 2 4-4 9, Mullinnix 1 0-0 2, Mensen 0 0-0 0, Wooldridge 3 2-2 8. Totals 21 13-16 59.
Halftime - Kirkwood 27, Iowa Lakes 24. 3-point goals - Iowa Lakes 5 (Ruiz 2, Jackson 2, Perez 1), Kirkwood 4 (Usher 2, Wilson 1, Robinson 1).