NAPERVILLE -- Through three quarters, it looked like the Millikin women were going to sneak out of North Central's Merner Field House with a CCIW victory.
But the fourth quarter was dominated by the Cardinals, who outscored the Big Blue 36-22 in the final 10 minutes to win 91-78.
"I felt really great about our first three quarters," Milllikin coach Lori Kerans said. "But the wheels came off in the fourth quarter and we gave up 36 points."
Millikin (5-10, 0-6 CCIW) took a 39-37 lead into halftime but second half foul trouble put several Big Blue players on their heels.
"All in all we played hard but fatigue and foul trouble set in in the fourth," Kerans said. "We had to play pretty tentative, which is hard with a team shooting good 3-pointers. We couldn't contain North Central."
North Central (4-10, 2-3) shot 53 percent from the field in the fourth quarter including going 5-10 (50 percent) from three-point range.
Millikin shot well from the field in the fourth quarter hitting 47 percent, but went 1 of 4 from 3-point range and 7 of 8 from the line.
On the game, North Central hit 47.5 percent from the field and 42 percent from 3-point range (14-33).
Millikin hit 49 percent from the field, but made 5 of 13 from 3-point range (38.5) percent.
The Big Blue were 17 of 23 (74 percent) from the free throw line. North Central won the rebounding battle 34-32.
Millikin's top scorer was Yanni Saddler with 23 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Devin Curry had 17 points, five rebounds and three assists.
Emily Schultz had 14 points and a team high seven rebounds.
North Central got 36 points from Mayson Whipple and 19 from Michaela Reedy.
Millikin has the weekend off before hosting Illinois Wesleyan on January 17 at 7 p.m. Before the game at 5:30 p.m. the team will be taking part in a Special Olympics exhibition.