By BRIAN LESTER
With less than two minutes left Saturday afternoon, the University of Findlay women’s basketball team still had hope for a victory against Malone University, even if only a glimmer of it.
The Oilers had closed the gap to three with a late run but couldn’t get any closer in a 74-67 loss to the Pioneers on Senior Day at Croy Gymnasium.
“We wait until the last three minutes to decide we are going to guard people,” UF head coach Jim Wiedie said. “We got back into the game, but for 37 minutes, there was no desire to defend.”
UF trailed 70-58 after Logan Pastor nailed a jumper with 2:47 left, and that is when the Oilers began their comeback attempt in this Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game.
Nikki Gunning was fouled as she scored on a layup, and the ensuing free throw was good as well.
Moments later, Gunning knocked down a 3-pointer to slice the MU lead to 70-64 before three free throws by Karli Beasley cut the gap to 70-67 with 37.5 seconds to play.
The Oilers (11-14, 8-13 GLIAC) never scored again, however, and lost their second consecutive game. It marks the 11th time this season UF has lost a game by less than 10 points.
“Everything comes back to the defense. We don’t make plays when we need to make plays,” Wiedie said. “We can’t get a stop when we need to get a stop. We can’t get a rebound when we need to get a rebound and we turn the ball over at crucial times. Little things like that have hurt us all year long.”
The Oilers shot only 37.7 percent (23-of-61) and Gunning led UF with 14 points. Ciara Geiger finished with 12 points and Karli Beasley scored 10.
UF battled MU (19-8, 14-7) close in the opening half and led 23-22 after a 3-pointer by Karli Bonar with 7:30 remaining.
Wuebker’s reverse layup tied the score at 29, but the Pioneers went into halftime with a 37-32 lead.
The Pioneers shot 47.4 percent (27-of-57) from the field and Sydnee Penn was tough to stop as she scored 18 points. Selana Reale added 12 points.
UF did score 21 points off 16 turnovers but was outrebounded 43-30.
The Oilers, who were the runner-up in the GLIAC tournament and an NCAA Division II tourney participant a year ago, will close out their tough season Thursday in a 6 p.m. road game against Hillsdale (12-13, 11-10).
“We are out of it in terms of the tournament, our senior day is done, and it’s one of those games where we may give kids an opportunity to play that haven’t played as much,” Wiedie said. “We can start evaluating things for the spring and begin to focus on next season.”
MALONE (19-8, 14-7 GLIAC)
Snyder 4-0–8, Penn 6-4–18, Reale 4-2–12, Simmers 4-1–10, Pastor 3-0–6, Zwayer 3-2–10, Myers 1-0–2, Raifsnider 2-0–4, Bardall 0-4–4, Schaffter 0-0–0. TOTALS: 27-57 13-15 — 74.
FINDLAY (11-14, 8-13 GLIAC)
Kenny 2-0–5, Wuebker 3-3–9, Beasley 3-3–10, Andrews 2-0–4, Gunning 5-2–14, Klausing 0-2–2, Kessler 1-0–2, Geiger 5-0–12, Bonar 1-0–3, Lewis 1-4–6. TOTALS: 23-61 13-19 — 67.
3-Point GOALS: Malone 7-16 (Penn, Reale & Zwayer 2, Simmers); Findlay 8-22 (Gunning 3, Geiger 2, Kenny, Beasley & Bonar).
rebounds: Malone 43 (Pastor 9); Findlay 30 (Wuebker 7).
ASSISTS: Malone 13 (Reale 5); Findlay 7 (Gunning 2).
STEALS: Malone 3 (Reale, Zwayer & Bardall); Findlay 9 (Gunning 3).
BLOCKS: Malone 0; Findlay 0.
TURNOVERS: Malone 16; Findlay 10.
TOTAL FOULS: Malone 19; Findlay 17.
FOULED OUT: Findlay (Andrews).
HALFTIME: Malone, 37-32.
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