GRANTHAM, Pa.- The third-seeded Stevenson women's basketball team nearly erased an 11 point deficit in the final period but was not able to take the lead as they fell to second-seeded Messiah 73-66, on Wednesday at Brubaker Auditorium.
After Messiah (19-7) opened up scoring with a midrange jumper from Dominique Seamon in the corner, Stevenson responded immediately with buckets on the next two trips down the floor. A layup from sophomore Kaitlyn VanTash and a three pointer from senior Caitlin Roy gave the Mustangs an early 5-3 lead.
The Falcons tied the score 5-5 with seven minutes to play in the opening period, but Stevenson (14-10) held the hosts to just one basket over the next 6:24 of play as they went on a 7-2 run. With just over 30 seconds to play, Gillian Glackin hit two free throws and a layup, cutting Messiah's deficit to just one.
Picking up where she left off in the first, Glackin added four quick points to start the second period, giving Messiah momentum and the lead. The Falcons held Stevenson to just two points, both free throws, as they extended their lead to 15, 29-14 with just under a minute to play in the half. Roy made the guests' only field goal of the period as she hit a layup with time winding down. Stevenson entered the half trailing 29-16.
In the first half, Messiah shot 40.7 percent from the floor compared to just 18.2 percent for the Mustangs. The Falcons also held a 24-20 advantage in rebounds and a 9-5 advantage in points off of turnovers.
Messiah held onto a 13 point lead through the first three minutes of the second half, until senior Stephanie Martinez drew a foul on a fast break layup and finished the three-point play. After forcing a tough shot on the other end, Sara Tarbert added another three-point play, cutting Stevenson's deficit to seven with 6:41 to go in the third.
Messiah stretched their lead to back 13 with just under two minutes to play in the period, but back-to-back three pointers from Tarbert and junior Haley Bauer swung the momentum towards Stevenson. The Mustangs trailed 50-43 entering the final frame.
Trailing 11 with 7:39 to play, Stevenson chipped away at Messiah's lead as they went on a 12-2 run, making it a one point game, 60-59, with 3:26 to play. The run was highlighted by a six points from Martinez and four from freshman Jonyae Curry.
The Mustangs were unable to take the lead as the Falcons defeated Stevenson, 73-66.
Messiah held a 49-40 advantage in rebounding, totaling 26 second chance points while holding the Mustangs to 12.
Tarbert totaled 20 points and 11 rebounds, her 16th double-double of the season. Martinez also picked up 20 points and six assists. Joining them in double figures, Roy added 11 points.
Stevenson will now await word of a possible ECAC bid. Those selections will be announced on Monday, February 29.