MOUNT VERNON, Ohio - The No. 25-ranked Marian University women's basketball team suffered its second straight defeat on the road as Mount Vernon Nazarene University used seven second-half three-pointers to come-from-behind for a 62-59 victory at the Physical Education Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Knights fell to 17-8 overall and 9-7 in the MCC, while MVNU moved to 14-12 overall and 6-10 in conference play.
Senior Emily Smithson
led the Knights with a team-high 15 points, while junior Adrienne Sahm
hit for 10 points. Smithson also tallied three steals and two assists, while Sahm added two steals and two assists. Junior Natasha Marshall
added eight points, six boards and five assists in 34 minutes for the Knights.
The Knights stormed out of the block by building a a 20-7 lead over the first 10:55 of the game. However, a 9-0 MVNU run cut it back to four, 20-16, with 5:43 to go in the frame. The Knights out-scored the Cougars by a 8-3 margin over the final five minutes to take a 28-19 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The MU defense held MVNU to just 22 percent (7-for-32) from the field in the first half and hit 41 percent (13-for-32) of its shots in the first 20 minutes. Both teams hit just two three-pointers in the first frame as MU carried a 12-4 advantage in the paint into the interval.
The second half was a much different story. The half began as the same story as the Knights opened with a 9-2 run to take a 16-point lead, 37-21, with 16:26 to go. A 9-0 MVNU run cut it to seven at 37-30 with 13:56 to go before the Knights were able to push it back to 11, 41-30, with 12:17 on the clock.
The Cougars continued to fight back as they were able to cut it to six at 41-35 with 10:55 to go before a 7-0 MU run pushed it back to 13 at 48-35 with 8:30 remaining. MVNU cut it to seven twice before MU was able to get the lead back to 11 at 54-43 with 6:06 to go. That was when MVNU did exactly what Grace did on Wednesday night.
The Cougars went on an 11-0 run that contained back-to-back-to-back three-pointers to tie the score at 54-54 with 3:32 to go. Sahm drilled a three to give MU a three-point lead, but MVNU scored six straight points to take a 61-57 lead with 1:25 to go. Sahm hit a jumper to cut it to a one-possession game before Sierra Fletcher hit one of two free throws to push it to three, 62-59, with 13 seconds remaining. Junior Natalie Robinson
got an open look as time expired, but her shot went begging and the Cougars hung on for the 62-59 comeback victory.
MVNU hit 52 percent (14-for-27) of its shots in the second half and, more importantly, went 7-for-9 from three-point range to secure the victory. The Knights shot 46 percent (10-for-22) from the field, but could not overcome a 20-8 MVNU advantage in points off turnovers. The Knights committed 10 turnovers in the second half and the Cougars capitalized. MU was also out-rebounded by a 17-10 margin in the second frame after a 26-20 advantage in the first stanza.
The Knights will head to the Hutzell Athletic Center on Wednesday night to take on No. 24 Saint Francis (Ind.) (17-11; 9-7 MCC) in Fort Wayne, Ind. MU suffered an 81-66 defeat at home to the Cougars on Jan. 11. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m.