By Francis Abbamonte
Last Saturday, ESU Women’s Basketball was defeated by the Millersville University Marauders 70-68 at Koehler Fieldhouse on Senior Day. This was the fourth loss in a row for the Warriors, and the second time that they lost to Millersville this season.
Earlier in the season, ESU traveled to Millersville and lost 48-69.
Senior guard Imani Brown was honored before the start of the game. She is the lone senior on the team.
The game itself was highly competitive from the opening tip. Millersville attacked the basket early and applied full court pressure on ESU. It was back-and-forth during the first quarter because every time the Marauders scored, the Warriors countered with a score of their own.
Freshman forward Marlene Bassett and junior guard Ann McKnight made impacts in the first quarter. McKnight drained some threes to tie the game late in the first quarter, while Bassett was a force in the paint. Bassett also got an emphatic block in the closing seconds of the first quarter to preserve ESU’s 25-23 lead.
Bassett continued her scoring assault in the second quarter. Millersville missed their first two buckets, and ESU capitalized by getting steals and scoring five straight points to give the Warriors a six-point lead.
But the lead didn’t last long as Millersville scored back-to-back buckets, and ESU committed a backcourt violation enabling the Marauders to tie the game.
The game remained tight as both teams couldn’t pull away from each other. But as the second quarter went on, the Warrior offense became stagnant, and Millersville kept applying full court pressure.
The relentless pressure from the Marauders enabled them to regain the lead, but ESU remained within striking distance and was only down 38-40 heading into the second half.
Millersville opened the third quarter on a 9-2 run, and their lead was now 49-40.
ESU would score back-to-back threes forcing Millersville to call a timeout with 4:06 left in the third quarter. But the Warriors continued to struggle against Millersville’s full court pressure, and that led to easy points in transition for the Marauders.
Heading into the fourth quarter, the Warriors were down 49-60, but still looked to get back into the game.
ESU started the fourth quarter with two steals while applying full court pressure that led to Imani Brown scoring the bucket plus getting the foul call.
Brown and sophomore point guard Jordan Hertz had big impacts in the fourth quarter and brought the Warriors within two. The momentum in the game began to shift in the Warriors’ favor as Millersville was called for two traveling violations.
Brown tied the game with two buckets, but Millersville anwered back each time.
The action continued to go back-and-forth during this highly competitive game. Every time ESU got the lead, Millersville regained it.
With about a minute left in the game, Brown converted an old school three-point play to give the Warriors the lead, 78-77.
By then, both teams were in the bonus late in fourth quarter. ESU then fouled Millersville senior guard Alayah Hall giving the Marauders a chance to take the lead.
Hall missed the first free throw, but she made the second one to tie the game.
With 31.4 seconds remaining in the game, ESU Head Coach Diane Decker called a timeout to advance the ball into the frontcourt. Brown went to the basket to score and missed on her first try, but she got the rebound and held the ball for a possible last shot to win the game.
But Brown’s second attempt to get the lead missed with eight seconds left in the game. This time, Millersville redshirt-junior guard Janelle Robinson corraled the loose ball and found Hall in transition. She ran full court and attacked the basket.
Unfortunately for ESU, the Warriors only had one player defending the basket. Hall easily beat her one-on-one with a nifty dribble-drive and scored the game-winning layup as time expired to spoil ESU’s comeback attempt on Senior Day.
ESU’s leading scorers were Brown with 19 points, Hertz with 16 points and Bassett with 15 points.
The Warriors almost completed the comeback, but they fell just short. Instead, Millersville made a big play at the end to stun ESU and the Warrior faithful at the buzzer.
ESU hosted Millersville at Koehler Fieldhouse in the PSAC Quarterfinals last night.
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