GOSHEN, Ind. – The Goshen College women's basketball team put together another gutsy performance, but it was not enough for the short-handed Maple Leafs to earn their first Mid-Central College Conference victory of the season as they fell 68-56 to visiting University of Saint Francis Saturday afternoon.
Despite missing two starters from a team that lost 86-61 to the Cougars earlier in the season, Goshen shot 57% to lead by as many as seven in the first half. After trailing 5-2 just over a minute in, the Leafs scored on three-straight possessions (including a pair of baskets by freshman Sierria Burlage) to knot the score at 8-8 by the first media timeout.
Tied for the fourth time with just under 11 to play in the opening stanza, freshman Avery Bischoff went on a personal 5-0 run to put Goshen up 18-13 at the midway point. The Maple Leafs advantage was short-lived, however, as the guests immediately answered with a 8-0 spurt.
Goshen's best run of the afternoon was sparked by yet another freshman. This time Jaime Stack scored four of her 18 points to lead the Leafs on a 6-0 streak to put them up 30-23 with less than five to go in the period. They eventually settled into a 34-31 halftime advantage after holding the Cougars to 36% shooting in the period.
Depth became an issue in the second half, though, as Saint Francis out scored them 37-22 for the comeback victory. Within five and a half minutes of the second-half whistle, the Cougars had already turned a three-point deficit into a five-point lead. They didn't manage to go up double digits until the final five minutes, however, as the Leafs ran out of gas, shooting 33% in the final 20 minutes of play.
Freshman continue to be a big story for a young Maple Leaf team that continues to battle with some of the nations' best (four straight games against nationally recognized teams). Stack registered her fifth double-double of the season with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Burlage hit 9-of-11 field goal attempts for a game and new career high 20 points. She has now scored in double figures in four straight and with nine rebounds, ended one tally short for the fourth time in the last five games. Bischoff also came off the bench to score six points and grab five rebounds.
Kayla Mullins led four Cougars in double figures with 17 points. The Maple Leafs (3-21, 0-11 MCC) will be back on the court Wednesday when they travel to Marian University (15-6, 7-5 MCC) in Indianapolis.