BLUE BELL, Pa. - The women's basketball team dropped a 65-63 heartbreaker to EPAC rival Harrisburg Area Community College in a Region XIX contest.
Losers of five straight entering the game, the Mustangs found themselves on the cusp of snapping the skid despite being outscored 20-4 in the third quarter.
Trailing 64-60 late, Montgomery's Naomi Jasienski stole the ball in her defensive end and took it the other way for a layup to cut the deficit to two points. On the subsequent inbound, the Mustangs' press coverage resulted in a foul on the Hawks and sent first-year player Alison Henning to the foul line with 4.8 seconds remaining. Henning missed the first free throw, but converted the second to keep it a one possession game.
The Hawks regained the two-point edge after a foul and subsequent free throw. Montgomery's Anna Morgan collected the rebound after a missed free throw, dribbled across midcourt and threw up a last-second, game-tying heave which was off the mark.
"We went MIA in the third quarter, both offensively and defensively, and that was the difference in the game," said Head Women's Basketball Coach Francine Roseman.
Indeed it was. Montgomery led 35-34 at halftime after a very evenly played first half. However, it found itself staring at a 54-39 deficit after Harrisburg's Brooke Shomper drained a buzzer-beating three-pointer as time expired in the third quarter. The Mustangs rallied in the fourth and outscored the Hawks 24-11 over the final 10 minutes. But the comeback fell one bucket short.
"The game was there for the taking," Roseman said. "We were out of sync in that quarter and the Hawks capitalized."
Statistically speaking, the Hawks held a significant advantage in field-goal percentage, converting 34.7 percent (25-72) to the Mustangs' 26.8 percent (22-82).
McKenzie Miller led the Hawks with a game-high 23 points to go along with 11 rebounds, while Shomper added 22.
Alison Henning led the Mustangs with 19 points, including nine points from beyond the arc. Jessica Spano added 18 points and pulled down 13 rebounds. Linda Sobeck and Anna Morgan also finished in double figures with 10 points apiece. Sobeck chipped in six rebounds and four steals, while Morgan was credited with three shot blocks. Emma Hagel recorded nine rebounds.
"I'm proud of these ladies in that they continue to fight despite not getting the results we all would like," Roseman said. "That will serve them well in the future, both on and off the court."
With upcoming games against the top two teams in Region XIX -- at Northampton on Tuesday and at Middlesex County College on Thursday -- things don't get any easier.
- By Bob Kent, Sports Information Director