SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (SabreAthletics.com) – A roaring start wasn't enough to upend host Lakeland College as the Muskies finished strong to hand the Marian University women's basketball team a 73-61 loss, inside Woltzen Gymnasium, this evening, Jan. 31.
It was a stunning end to such a flourishing start as the Sabre offense went scoreless for the final 3:14 after jumping ahead 11-0 to start the game. After Brianna Tietz knocked down 1-of-2 free throws to put the Sabres ahead, 61-60, with 3:14 remaining, the Muskies responded by scoring the game's final 13 points en route to the double-digit win.
Marian's Sarah Albert went 7-of-13 from beyond the arc to finish with a game-high 21 points. Ashley Backes added 15 points, while Rissa Cerveny chipped in 14. Taylor Jandrin fueled the Lakeland offense all night long, finishing with 20 points on 7-for-11 shooting. Leah Eisner hauled in a game-high 13 rebounds to go with 18 points.
Lakeland improved to 9-13 overall, 7-8 in the NAC with the win, while Marian dropped to 4-16 (3-10 NAC). Tonight's game, which was originally scheduled for Jan. 30, was postponed 24 hours due to poor weather and travel conditions.
The 11-0 run by Marian was sparked by hot-shooting from the outside as Albert, Cerveny and Amelia Mirsberger each connected from three-point range. The lead would grow to as many as 12 points when another Albert three made it 14-2.
Quickly, the Muskies found their shooting stroke as Jandrin ignited a comeback that cut the deficit to two points by halftime, 30-28.
In the second half, the scored changed hands seven times. An Eisner layup with 18:34 left gave the Muskies their first lead of the game, 31-30. Eisner would finish with 14 second-half points.
Backes scored 10 of her 15 points in the second half and regained the lead for the Sabres, 37-36, after yet another three-pointer.
Marian would go down by as many as six points before battling back and taking a 61-60 lead after Tietz split a pair of free throws with 3:14 left in the game.
But it was a tough Lakeland defense that converted Marian miscues into points and then stellar free throw shooting down the stretch to seal the win.
Marian would fall one short of its season-high of 15 three's, set back when these two teams first met. The result mimicked that of tonight as the Sabres took a first half lead followed by a strong second half finish by the Muskies that was too much to overcome.
Marian will be back in action this Saturday, Feb. 2, taking on Concordia University Chicago at 2 p.m. It will be the Sabres' annual "Pink Out" game and will also feature collaboration with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Fond du Lac in an effort to increase fundraising amounts for breast cancer research.