Beloit, WI -- The Beloit College Women's Basketball team put together a spirited second half comeback in their final game of 2016 but fell short in a 70-61 loss to Elmhurst College in Flood Arena Saturday afternoon.
Elmhurst took control of the New Year's Eve matinee in the opening quarter, racing out to a 17-7 advantage. The pushed their lead to as large as 19 at 33-14 midway thru the second quarter before the Bucs closed the deficit to 37-23 at halftime.
Beloit got within nine at 39-30 at the 7:11 mark of the third quarter but the Bluejays answered with a 9-0 run to move back up by 18 midway thru the period. The Buccaneers then started to chip away and closed the quarter on a 14-3 run to get within seven in the final seconds before a buzzer-beater by EC made it 53-44 after three. The Bucs kept coming in the fourth quarter and got within five on three occasions, the last time with 1:04 remaining. But that was as close as they could get as Elmhurst hit four free throws in the final 55 seconds to seal the win.
After a slow start the Buccaneers finished at 44% shooting (22-50) for the game, including 57.1% (8-14) in the third quarter when they started their comeback. The Bluejays shot 42.3% (22-52) for the game. But the difference-maker was EC's 22-15 edge on made free throws for the game.
Nora Polaski had 14 points and Laura Panicali scored 13. Kelsey Horvath had a team-high five rebounds and three assists and Shelby Kline made three steals to go with her nine points.
Beloit gets a short pause to celebrate the new year before getting back into Midwest Conference play on Wednesday night when they host St. Norbert College. Tipoff is at 5:30 p.m.