Mishawaka, Ind. – The No. 4 Marian Knights women's basketball team won a hard fought battle at Bethel College Wednesday night, 67-63. This game was a polar opposite of their early contest against Bethel, as Knights had fight until the very end to seal the victory. This game marks the Knights 14th straight victory. The Knights are now 26-3 on the season and 16-1 in the Crossroads League.
Marian and Bethel each got off to a slow start in Wednesday's game, as both teams combined for 14 points after the first six minutes of the game. Then Marian began to find their rhythm, as shots started falling left and right for Marian. Not only were shots beginning to fall, but the Knights were extremely active on the defensive end. Marian picked up two blocks in the first quarter to go with their five steals.
In the second quarter, Marian continued to fire on all cylinders, as the Knights began to knock down their three points shots. Ana Kirby and Kellie Kirkhoff each drained two shots from beyond the arc, improving the team's overall shooting performance to 56 percent in the first half. Marian's defense began to show some cracks in the second quarter, as Bethel began to make uncontested layups and jump shots. Marian showed their composure and led 37-29 at halftime.
Marian struggled in the third quarter, making a total of four field goals in the period and scoring 11 points. Conversely, Bethel shot extremely well, scoring sixteen points trimming Marian's lead down to three points entering the final quarter of the game.
The Pilots continued to claw away, as a deep three by Bethel's Lauren Grewe made it a two point 56-54 Marian lead with four minutes remaining. No matter how close it seemed Bethel would get, the Knights would not fold, as Joana Soeiro scored in the paint to extend Marian's back to four points. The Pilots would not give up, as they made the game a two point Marian lead with 40 seconds left. Senior Jess Almeida calmly hit her free throws as Bethel became desperate for possessions in the game's final moments, giving Marian their 14th straight victory.
Marian was led tonight by Kellie Kirkhoff, as the junior exploded for 23 points. Kirby and Almeida each scored in double-figures for the Knights, scoring 15 and 12 points, respectively.
Marian will wrap up their regular season this Saturday as they close with Goshen College. Saturday is Senior Day at Marian, as the Knights will honor their three seniors Jess Almeida, Jenna Sullivan, and Ana Kirby. Senior day activities will begin at approximately 12:55 p.m. with tip-off shortly following.
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