Postseason preview: Lady Iron are set to play Normal West, again


Shae Simmons

The Lady Iron varsity basketball team huddles before their annual Pink Game versus Normal West. The Wildcats won 45-26.

For the seventh time over the past two seasons, the Lady Iron varsity basketball team is set to play Normal West. For the second time, their seasons will be on the line.

By chance, Community is the recipient of a home game, as they host the IHSA 4A Regional Semi-Final at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 18. 

The teams met four times last season, with West winning the Intercity tournament game 56-40. NCHS came back to win the next three games in the season series.

Each showdown between the cross-town rivals came with added importance: the teams’ matchups in the Intercity tournament and Annual Pink Game were followed by unscheduled meetings in the State Farm Holiday Classic and the Regional Championship. 

Community not only defeated West three games to one on the season, but they won when it mattered most, in the Regional Finals hosted by Bloomington. The Wildcats’ loss in the win-or-go-home IHSA playoffs meant that their season was over at the hands of their rival.

The Wildcats have avenged their postseason loss in a big way this year, winning both games between the programs by an average of 16 points. 

The Lady Iron are undoubtedly the underdog coming into Tuesday’s game, holding a 14-15 overall record. The silver lining for the varsity team this season has been their performance in the Big 12 Conference, where they have gone 8-2.

The Lady Iron are riding a modest two-game win streak into the postseason, after defeating Bradley Bourbonnais and Peoria Notre Dame to close out the regular season. 

The Wildcats have gone 20-7 and hold the same conference record as NCHS at 8-2. The Wildcats win in the annual Pink Game spurred a seven-game win streak, that they now must keep alive to earn another game in the postseason. 

Both teams have won three of their past six meetings and will look to take the tie-breaking grudge match at Normal Community on Tuesday to extend their respective seasons.