SPRING ARBOR, Mich. – The Goshen College women's basketball team could not pick up its first Mid-Central College Conference victory of the season, losing 66-55 to host Spring Arbor University Saturday afternoon.
Freshman posts Jaime Stack and Sierria Burlage continued to put up solid numbers for a short-handed Maple Leaf squad. Burlage finished with her second career double-double scoring 12 points to go with a game-high 13 rebounds. Stack, meanwhile, scored 11, her fifth-straight game in double figures.
Jessica Garrison led all scorers with 13 points off the bench for Spring Arbor, while Alex Glenn also chipped in 11 as a reserve.
The teams combined for just one field goal and four points in the first two minutes of action. The hosts then slowly broke loose, building a 13-6 lead before stretching it to ten (19-9) just past the midway point of the first period. Down 10 again (23-13), the Maple Leafs finally were able to make their move with seven minutes left in the half. Senior Kaylee Hilliker started a 7-0 spurt with an old-fashioned 3-point play as the Leafs climbed back within three (23-20) with three and a half left in the stanza.
Spring Arbor, though, closed the half on a 9-2 stretch to take a 32-22 lead into the locker rooms. Both sides struggled with their shooting touch in the period with the Cougars hitting 33.3% to just 28.6% by Goshen.
The Leafs were held scoreless for the first 3:25 of the second frame as the Cougars continued what turned into a 16-2 spurt to go up 39-22. They eventually stretched the gap to a game-high 23 points (50-27) with 12:35 remaining.
Goshen had some fight left, however, and once again clawed their way back. Seven of Stack's 11 points came over the next six minutes as Goshen went on a 20-4 run to cut its deficit to 54-47 with just over six to play. Spring Arbor's Angela Russell answered with a 3-pointer, though, and the energy used to get back into the contest had taken its toll on the Leafs as they never got closer than seven the rest of the way.
Goshen finished with a narrow 41-38 advantage on the boards, but lost the had only six assists versus 19 turnovers. Both teams shot between 35-37%, but the Leafs 0-for-12 from beyond the arc was also a major factor.
The Maple Leafs (3-25, 0-16 MCC) will close the 2011-12 season next week when they host Huntington University for Senior Night on Wednesday before traveling to Indiana Wesleyan on Saturday.