FORT WAYNE, Ind. - The Marian University women's basketball team suffered its third consecutive defeat as the Knights dropped a tightly contested 67-62 contest at the University of Saint Francis (Ind.) at the Hutzell Athletic Center on Wednesday night.
The Knights fell to 17-9 overall and 9-8 in the Mid-Central College Conference, while the Cougars improved to 18-11 overall and 10-7 in MCC play.
Senior Emily Smithson
led a pair of Knights in double figures with a game-high 22 points. She also grabbed five rebounds, dished out a pair of assists and had three steals in 37 minutes. Junior Whitley Emerson
poured in 12 points and grabbed four boards, while junior Natalie Robinson
added eight points. Junior Natasha Marshall
dished out a game-high six assists for the Knights.
The game came down to the final seconds in a game that featured just one tie and three lead changes, all in the first half. The Knights were able to trim a USF lead that grew to 12 points at 57-45 with 6:11 remaining in regulation. Smithson capped a 15-4 run over the next 4:20 to cut the lead to one at 61-60 with 1:51 remaining in the contest. A USF steal and layup in transition pushed it back to four with 1:10 to go before Smithson hit a pair of free throws to make it a two-point game, 64-62, with 1:05 remaining. The Knights were forced to foul after a missed shot and USF sank one of two freebies with 15 seconds remaining.
Marshall pushed down the floor and found Robinson wide open on the right wing with two seconds to play. Her three-pointer rimmed out and USF senior Amanda Pedro grabbed the board and hit a pair of free throws to seal the 67-62 victory.
The Knights trailed by seven, 28-21, at the half after shooting just 31 percent (10-for-32) from the field in the first half. However, they shot 48 percent (15-for-31) in the second stanza even though they went 1-for-12 from three-point range for the game. MU endured a 35-14 free throw differential as USF sank 27-of-35 freebies, while MU hit 11-of-14 from the line in the defeat.
Smithson now sits 15th on the all-time scoring list with 932 career points and sits third all-time with 335 career assists. She is also ranked seventh all-time with 140 career steals.
Smithson and seniors Nikki Schmidt
, Misty Black and Brandi Jolliff
will be recognized on Saturday afternoon on Senior Day at the Physical Education Center.
The Knights will take on No. 15-ranked Bethel College (20-8; 12-5 MCC) at the Physical Education Center on Saturday afternoon. Tip-off is slated for 1 p.m. and the game will be video-streamed LIVE
beginning at 12:55 p.m.