The Beloit College women’s basketball team was edged by Cornell College 59-55 in the Midwest Conference opener in Beloit Friday evening.
The Buccaneers trailed nearly the entire game but remained within striking distance. After shooting less than 15-percent from the floor in the first half, the Bucs took a seven-point, 23-16 deficit into halftime.
Cornell led by as much as 10, 30-20 three minutes into the third quarter when Beloit began making a comeback. By the three-minute mark, the Bucs trailed by just one, 35-34 after Shelby Kline stole the ball and quickly found Candace Cunningham on the block for the layin.
Danielle Strejc’s three pointer with just ten seconds remaining made it a two-point game, 39-37, in favor of the Rams heading into the final 10 minutes of play.
Kline tallied the first bucket of the fourth quarter to knot the game at 39 before Cornell went on a 3-0 run to make it 42-39 with 7:16 on the clock. A flurry under the basket gave the Bucs their first lead of the game. Cunningham putback her own miss to pull within one. On the other end, Kelly McLean pulled down a defensive board and registered the assist on the offensive end hitting Cunningham for a jumper to make it 43-42 Beloit, the Bucs’ first lead of the contest.
The Rams’ Bella Gonzalez cut the Beloit momentum with a three but the Bucs responded with their own as Kelly Loudon found the bottom of the net from downtown and tallied a layup on the next possession to make it a three-point game, 48-45 with 3:34 left. Kline registered the assist on both Loudon buckets.
A three-point play by Cornell followed by a three-pointer and a layup in a span of a minute swayed the game back into the Rams’ favor, 55-50 with less than a minute to go.
Lauren Glaser knocked down a three to fire up a great Bucs’ crowd as Beloit was back within two, 55-53 with 37 seconds on the clock. Out of a Beloit timeout, Cornell’s Mo Kempiak powered in a shot from the block to push the lead to four with 16 ticks remaining.
Beloit inbounded and made it to their offensive end calling timeout with 12 seconds left. A missed three looked to be the end but Cunningham provided one last spark with a steal and jumper in the paint to make it 57-55 with two seconds left.
McLean fouled immediately with 1.8 remaining but Cornell dropped in both free throws to seal the game, 59-55.
Cunningham led all players with 20 points, 14 rebounds and four steals. She went 7-of-13 from the field and 6-of-7 from the charity stripe. Kline dropped in 11 points and dished out a game-high five assists. Glaser contributed nine points on a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line and added four assists.
The Bucs continue MWC action tomorrow hosting Monmouth College.