FOND DU LAC, Wis. - Marian University women's basketball (1-0, 0-0 NACC) opened the 2017-18 season with a thrilling 64-62 win over Lawrence in non-conference action.
The Lawrence offense opened the game with a sizeable lead when they used an 8-2 run at the end of the first quarter to take a 21-15 lead at the first break. The six-point lead proved to be a big lead in a game that was close from wire-to-wire.
Marian answered to start the second quarter using a 10-2 run to retake the lead at 25-23. From there, however, the Vikings were able to bounce back and once again closed out the quarter strong with an 11-3 run to take a 34-28 advantage into half time.
Each offense had similar field goal percentages in the opening half but the Sabres held the edge beyond the arc shooting 4-9 (.444) from three-point land, while also holding Lawrence to 0-7 shooting from the three-point line.
Lawrence extended their lead out to nine at 39-30 to open the third quarter before Marian began to rally using a quick 8-0 run to force a Viking timeout. Marian would force three turnovers in the 1:37 span, but continued their run out of the time out extending their streak to 12 unanswered as MU retook the lead 42-39. Marian was able to extend their lead out to 48-43 before a quick 4-0 run from Lawrence closed out the third quarter with a 48-47 Marian lead.
Neither team would manage a lead larger than three in the fourth quarter as both defenses stepped up their play. Each offense went scoreless for the first 5:03 of the final quarter with Marian being held scoreless until only 4:05 remained.
The final minute proved to be tense as the Vikings would take a 62-59 lead only to have their lead erased by a three-pointer from junior Rachel Serchen, assist to freshman Kendall Bates. The Vikings would gain possession of the ball with the score still at 62-62 and only 20-seconds remaining but the Sabre defense forced a charge to give MU a chance at the win. Senior Brandi Bender had a big game and would close out an MU win with a bucket in the final seconds to seal the 64-62 win.
Bender finished with a game-high 25 points to pace the offense, while Bates added 11 and junior Molly Magnus chipped in 10. Despite being outrebounded 51-40, junior Christina Jagiello would grab a team-high eight boards.
Marian next travels to the Webster Tip Off where they open against Ripon Friday, Nov. 17 with a 6 p.m. tip.