BELOIT - Beloit College's Buccaneers certainly didn't look like a team struggling to find their first victory of the season on Wednesday night.
On the contrary, with senior forward Melissa McLean enjoying a double-double that included a career-high 24 points, Beloit never trailed in flattening Rockford University, 76-53, at Flood Arena.
McLean played a nearly flawless game, converting 12-of-14 shots from the field and matching teammate Candace Cunningham with 11 rebounds. The 5-foot-10 Woodridge, Ill., native came into the game averaging seven points.
"My teammates were making great passes and I was open so I was shooting," McLean said with a grin. "We've lost to this team in the past so we know not to underestimate them. We know we had to play hard to come out on top. We played as a team right from the start and we focused on boxing out and really getting on the boards."
McLean's only rough spot was a technical foul late in the game.
"There were three girls on me and they ripped my shoulder," she said. "I tried to turn with the ball and the ref said I was swinging at them. Their coach went nuts and I got the technical."
That gave her a fourth foul, but she never picked up her fifth .
"I want her to be aggressive, but she's been fouling out in 18 to 25 minutes," Beloit head coach Gloria Bradley said. "She was aggressive tonight, but it was a good kind. She was calling or the ball and she doesn't usually do that. She was playing down in the post, playing big."
She wasn't alone. The Bucs outrebounded the Regents 43-26, despite still playing without 6-foot-1 senior center Jaylan Dunn due to an ankle injury.
"We're missing our (center), but we played with a lot of intensity and that was the difference," Bradley said.
Nichelle Brown, a 6-1 freshman, saw 14 minutes of action and had six points, five rebounds and three blocked shots.
"Nichelle is a work in progress," Bradley said. "She is a freshman who really doesn't have a concept yet of the pace of the game. She just plays at her own pace. When she steps up her pace she's going to be dangerous."
The Bucs (1-3) led only 22-16 in the second quarter when a pair of 3-pointers by Danielle Strejc sparked a 15-2 run that put them on top 37-18.
"I've been telling people Dani is a really good shooter and she showed some of that tonight," Bradley said. "She just learned to be patient and get the open looks."
Beloit built its lead to 20 early in the second half and after Rockford cut it to 12, 50-38, McLean scored three baskets and Strejc hit her fourth 3-pointer of the game during an 11-3 lead that put the Bucs back firmly in command. She finished with 16 points.
The Bucs got solid guard play, particularly from sophomore point guard Lauren Glaser, who had nine assists and three steals.
"She really played well and took command when she was in there," Bradley said. "When she wasn't out there we got a little scattered at times."
All in all, though, the Bucs are moving in the right direction.
"When we get everybody back from the injuries, we're going to surprise a lot of people," McLean said.
• NOTES: Shelby Kline, averaging 18 points, was held to seven. She had five rebounds. ...Nicole Silvers was 1-5 Rockford's lone double-figure scorer with 18 points. ...Beloit will host Grinnell College at 7:30 p.m. Friday.