DECATUR -- Lori Kerans reminds her players that there is plenty they can control on the basketball court.
If they execute what they can control, good things happen. On Wednesday in a 69-64 loss to Elmhurst in a College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin game at the Griswold Center, the Big Blue women's team didn't execute the controllable elements of the game.
Millikin (5-8, 0-4 CCIW) shot 6 of 13 from the free-throw line and were out-rebounded by the Bluejays 35-26.
"If we get those free throws back, we can win the ball game," Kerans said. "These are controllables: rebounds and free throws. They played exceptionally hard. There was balanced scoring. We lost in categories that are controllable. We are continuing to see fight and heart from this team."
Millikin led 32-29 at the half and were ahead 52-49 heading into the final quarter. The Bluejays (7-6, 3-1) opened the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run and took the lead with on a Mikaela Eppard basket with 7:19 remaining. Elmhurst went 7-8 from the free throw line in the final 40 seconds to hold off a Millikin rally.
Millikin shot 49 percent from the field including 31 percent from three-point range.
"We led in the first and third quarters and we won the second quarter, but we struggled in the fourth quarter. That's where we got outscored," Kerans said.
Elmhurst shot 45.5 percent from the field and made only 2-18 from three-point range.
The Bluejays went 17-22 (77 percent) from the free throw line.
Millikin's top scorer was junior Yanni Saddler with 22 points, four rebounds and two steals. Senior Emily Shultz had 15 points a team high six rebounds and four assists. Devin Curry finished with 14 points.
Eppard was the story for the Bluejays in the second half scoring 19 of her 21 points. Hannah Henderson had 15 points for Elmhurst. Eppard and Henderson each had six rebounds.
The Big Blue travel to Augustana College on Saturday.