Sabres unable to hold off late Spartan push

AURORA, Ill. - A strong fourth quarter for Aurora University lifted the Spartans over Marian University women's basketball (3-13, 2-9 NACC) 77-58.

The Sabres jumped out on the Spartans in the first quarter taking an early 5-0 lead. Aurora would bounce back and narrow the gap at 8-6 with under four minutes left in the quarter. Marian would answer, however, taking an 18-10 lead into the second quarter.

The Spartans continued to chip away at the Marian lead in the second quarter, but the Sabres were able to hold off Aurora for most of the quarter.  It wasn't until a Spartan layup with 24-seconds left in the half that Aurora would take their first lead of the game at 33-32, a lead they would take into halftime.

Marian would come out of halftime using a 6-3 run to regain the lead at 38-36.  Shortly after, a pair of free throws from senior Molly Kovarik tied the game at 40-40 with 4:24 left in the quarter, but a well-timed timeout from Aurora led the Spartans to a 10-3 lead that gave AU their largest lead at 50-43.  A pair of free throws from freshman Brianna Horton in the final second of the quarter would cut the Sabre deficit down to 50-45 heading into the final quarter.

The Aurora offense continued to use their momentum from the third quarter, however, and were able to pull away in the final quarter earning the 77-58 win.

Senior Nicole Paulus once again led the offense with a team-high 16 points, while Horton chipped in 12 points.  Freshman Carley Wilson nearly missed out on a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds.

Marian hits the road Tuesday, Jan. 24 traveling to Lakeland for a 7 p.m. tip to close out the season series with the Muskies.