On Friday evening, the Alma College women's basketball team hosted the Lakeland College (WI) Muskies in a non-league contest at Art Smith Arena. The visiting Muskies used a couple of different runs and then poise down the stretch to come away with a hard-fought 81-73 road victory over the Scots.
Alma dropped to 0-4 on the 2013-14 season, while Lakeland evened their early season record to 1-1.
It was a game of runs in the first 20 minutes. An achilles heal for the Scots in the past has been falling behind early but Alma was not inflicted by that habit this evening. The home team jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead on two baskets by Fr. F Erica Hansen (Mt. Pleasant/Sacred Heart) before Lakeland responded.
The contest was tied at 8-8 before another basket by Hansen put Alma up 14-8 with 15:57 left in the half. The Muskies reeled off seven straight points to take a 15-14 advantage just 1:30 later. The two teams exchanged baskets before Alma went ahead by five and then down by one. The game stood at 29-29 at the 6:12 mark.
Alma responded with a 10-2 run that included two free throws by Jr. G Mallory Pruett (Ishpeming/Ishpeming) and a lay-up by Fr. G Tara Padgett (Freeland/Freeland) that gave the Scots a 39-31 lead at the 2:32 mark.
The final run of the half then came from the Muskies, who finished the frame on a 10-0 spurt that took them into halftime with a 41-39 advantage. Alma shot 47% (15 of 32) in the first 20 minutes, while Lakeland hit on 43% of their attempts (16 of 37).
The Muskies scored the first seven points of the second half, concluding a 17-0 run, and had a 48-39 lead just 1:35 into it. Continuing the back and forth nature of the contest, Alma had a 10-0 run that gave them a 49-48 advantage when So. G Kassidi Adams (Montrose/Montrose) scored a bucket at the 14:51 mark.
The two teams stayed close for the next seven minutes and Alma still had a one-point lead (60-59) with 7:09 remaining in the game. The Muskies then scored the next eight points to go ahead 67-60 and eventually built an 11-point advantage at 78-67 with just 1:21 left on the clock.
Alma's young team does not quit however, and after scoring the next six points, the last one by a Pruett free throw, the Scots trailed just 78-73 with 31 ticks left on the clock. However, Lakeland closed the contest out with three consecutive free throws and walked off the court with the 81-73 victory.
Next up for the Scots is a non-league contest at Finlandia University on Sunday afternoon. Tip-off is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.