FOND DU LAC, Wis. - In a seesaw battle, Marian University women's basketball (3-15, 2-11) fell just short of completing a comeback as the Sabres were defeated by Alverno 72-69.
The largest lead of the first quarter would only be a meager three points as the Inferno took an early 13-12 lead. The Sabres then finished out the quarter strong scoring six of the final nine points to take an 18-16 lead into the first break.
The Sabres held onto their small lead to open the second quarter but a 7-0 run would give the Inferno a 31-26 advantage forcing a Marian timeout. The Sabres used the timeout well and were able to finish the quarter on a quick 5-2 run but still trailed at the half 33-31.
The two squads continued to battle back-and-forth to open the third quarter before Alverno went on a 7-2 run to take the largest lead of the game at 49-43 with 2:10 left in the quarter. A jumper from senior Nicole Paulus and three-pointer from freshman Carley Wilson would cut into the lead, however, and the Sabres would enter the final quarter trailing 53-48.
Alverno managed their lead out to a 67-61 advantage with 2:49 remaining in the game. Marian then started to mount a comeback using a pair of free throws from Paulus and three-pointer from sophomore Brandi Bender to cut the deficit down to one with only 1:43 in the game.
MU and Alverno traded a pair of three-pointers in the final minutes before a pair of Inferno free throws with only 10-seconds sealed the final at 72-69.
Four of the five Sabre starters would hit double-figures for points led by Bender who netted a game-high for points with 22, while Paulus chipped in 17 to follow.
Marian will have a quick turnaround hitting the road for a 7 p.m. tip against MSOE Monday, January 30.