For a couple years now Lucy Schmid has used her height and skill to regularly score in the paint and to come away with plenty of rebounds.
But Naperville Central coach Andy Nussbaum also has been well aware of her outside shooting. In Saturday's DuPage Valley Conference showdown with visiting Neuqua Valley, Schmid was her usual tough self around the basket on both ends of the floor but decided to step up and step out when things mattered most in overtime.
After the two rivals played to a 49-49 standstill for four quarters, Schmid nailed a 3-pointer from the corner in overtime for a 52-51 lead and later was fouled firing up a 3. The 6-foot-2 junior then made two of three free throws and helped the Redhawks prevail 60-55, scoring 5 of her game-high 23 points in the extra session.
"We needed Lucy to come through and she came through in a big way," Nussbaum said. "We have other girls who are great shooters who maybe weren't having as good a day and, you know Lucy's real good at 3s because she's worked at it. I kind of made an offhand comment when she was a freshman, that it would be kind of nice if she made (shots) from behind the line. She comes back as a sophomore and hits them with regularity."
Schmid scored half of Naperville Central's 26 points in the first half as the Wildcats (3-4, 1-1) gave Redhawks standout Mia Lakstigala extra attention on defense all game long. Neuqua Valley held the senior to just one field goal. Lakstigala did make nine free throws in the second half -- 4 for 4 in overtime -- to finish with 11 points.
"It was really weird because Mia is an amazing player," Schmid said. "But the other team was really pressuring her and at times having three people guard her. I'm glad a lot of people on our team can step up and make those shots."
Neuqua Valley, which got 13 points apiece from Megan Callahan and Rachel Tait, used a 17-10 advantage in the second quarter for a 28-26 lead at the half. The visitors then clung to a 39-38 lead after three quarters and had a 49-47 lead late before Maiah DeShazer sent the game into overtime with a pair of free throws with 5.4 seconds left in regulation.
"A game like this, there's a lot of adversity. Neuqua was playing pretty physical and they had a game plan that we hadn't seen and they executed it very well," said Nussbaum, whose team improved to 6-1, 2-0. "It was an entertaining game if you didn't care who won. To have these kinds of games early in the season is only going to make us better. It's going to make them better too."
Wildcats guard Jada Harvey, who had the first basket in overtime and finished with 11 points, liked everything about Saturday's game except the outcome.
"This was a fun game. I wish we would have come out with the win, but now we know to do better next time we play them," she said. "This was one of our better games. If we keep playing like this we're going to do real well in conference play and the next tournament we play in."
Erin McCarthy pulled in a game-high 14 rebounds for Neuqua, while Lakstigala paced the Redhawks with 10.