When the Finlandia University women's basketball team hosted the ladies from Alma College on Sunday afternoon, it marked a contest between two squads that were a combined 0-8 on the season and in search of their first victories of the 2013-14 season.
It was a game that was indicative of two teams that were going to give it their all to secure that elusive first win. The game was close throughout, but in the end, the host Lions overtook the Scots for a 88-83 triumph.
Alma is now 0-5 on the season, while Finlandia improved to 1-4 for 2013-14.
"It was a tough loss but we played much better tonight than we have the last two games," stated Scots Head Coach Keisha Brown. "We have had a long two weeks. We are going to take this week to rest our bodies and get prepared for conference play."
Again, the bad habit of falling behind early that has plagued the Scots reared its ugly habit again on Sunday. Finlandia jumped out to a 8-0 lead in the first 1:30 of the contest before Alma So. F Raeanna Zink (Birch Run/Frankenmuth) hit a free throw to make it 8-1.
The Lions had a lead of 19-13 at the 13:12 mark of the half before the Scots started to get on a roll. Alma scored the next seven points to take their first lead of the game, 20-19, with the final basket of the run being a lay-up by So. F Faith Weier (Lake Fenton/Lake Fenton).
The final 11:48 remained close as neither team could pull ahead despite each having the lead at different points. The Scots went into the break with a 43-40 advantage as Zink hit a jump shot with seven ticks on the clock.
As expected, the game stayed competitive, but the Scots held the advantage or was tied before Finlandia finally took their next lead, 65-63, with 8:10 remaining in the game. The game was even at 68-68 a minute later and the Scots held their final advantage at 75-72 on a lay-up by Weier with 4:12 on the clock.
The scoreboard read 83-83 with 1:14 remaining in the contest but the home Lions roared and found a way to win. They scored the final five points of the game on a three-pointer and two free throws and shut down the Scots on defense to earn the 88-83 final margin of victory.
Alma shot 46% from the field (28 of 61) and were good on seven of two three-point attempts, while Finlandia also connected on 46% of their shots (28 of 61) and hit eight of 26 from beyond the arc. The Scots had the rebound advantage by a margin of 41-30 but had 18 turnovers to the Lions' 11.
Jr. G Mallory Pruett (Ishpeming/Ishpeming) led the Scots with 23 points, including 11 of 11 from the free throw line, and added seven rebounds and a team-best four assists. Fr. F Erica Hansen (Mt. Pleasant/Sacred Heart) was next with 19 points and led the squad with 11 rebounds, while Weier and So. G Kassidi Adams (Montrose/Montrose) each contributed 10 points.
The Scots are now off until Wednesday, December 4, when they travel to Kalamazoo College to begin the 2013-14 MIAA season. Tip-off at Kzoo is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.