OWINGS MILLS, Md. - The Stevenson women's basketball team upset bid fell short as it fell, 52-39, to No. 22 Messiah on Wednesday at Owings Mills Gymnasium.
The first four possessions of the game resulted in turnovers as both teams struggled to get on the board. After after over two and a half minutes of play, Messiah (19-1, 10-1 MAC Commonwealth) struck first on a put back from Gillian Glackin but junior Imani Sanders matched it on the other end with a layup in the middle.
The teams traded baskets in a close battle before Messiah hit back-to-back jumpers, including one from behind the arc, to take a five point lead. Buckets from junior Kristine Tennyson and freshman Hannah Crist got the Mustangs to within one, but another Messiah three pointer gave the guests a 14-10 lead at the end of the quarter.
Stevenson (13-8, 8-4 MAC Commonwealth) turned the ball over on its first four possessions of the second period as Messiah extended its lead. After another layup from Glackin gave Messiah an 18-10 advantage with 7:32 remaining in the half, both teams struggled to convert for over two and a half minutes of play. A jumper from sophomore Jonyae Curry broke the drought, but Messiah was able to match it with two free throws on the next play.
In the final four and a half minutes of the half, the Mustangs defensive pressure was tight as they held Messiah scoreless while chipping away at their deficit. Stevenson was unable to grab the lead as the Falcons held a 20-16 advantage at the break.
Messiah shot 28.6 percent in the first half compared to 24 percent for Stevenson. The Mustangs held a 13-11 advantage in forced turnovers, while the Falcons led 21-18 on the boards.
Messiah forced four turnovers and scored five points to extend their lead early in the second half. The teams traded baskets before back-to-back Mustang steals went for layups on the other end, making it a five point game. The hosts held onto their momentum as they forced two more turnovers and cut their deficit to just one point, 27-26, with just over two and a half minutes to play in the period.
The Falcons were able to extend their lead to four, but another jumper from Tennyson and an old fashioned three point play from senior Sara Tarbert gave the Mustangs their first lead of the game since the opening quarter with 45 seconds on the clock. Messiah tacked on two more free throws as they held onto a 32-31 lead entering the final frame.
Messiah hit its first four shots of the fourth quarter, but Crist and Tarbert each knocked down shots from behind the arc to make it a one possession game, 40-37, with just under six and a half minutes to play.
Stevenson maintained its defensive pressure forcing five turnovers in the final minutes, but could not convert as Messiah slowly stretched its lead to the end of the period.
The Falcons shot 34.7 percent from the floor while Stevenson shot 25.9 percent. Stevenson led 25-21 in forced turnovers, but the Falcons led 41-35 on the boards.
Tarbert recorded her 21st double-double of the season with 14 points, 19 rebounds, and three steals. She is now just three points shy of reaching 2,000 career points. Crist totaled eight points while Curry added six points and four steals. Sanders finished with three steals.
The Mustangs return to action on Saturday, February 4th when they host Widener in their Pink Game beginning at 4:00 p.m.
Head Coach Jackie Boswell talks about the team's game with Messiah.
Stevenson Senior Sara Tarbert talks about the team's play in their game with Messiah.