The Mount Vernon Nazarene University Cougars Women’s Basketball team withstood a 16-2 first half run, and then answered every challenge in the second half to hold on for a 72-65 victory over the scrappy Alice Lloyd College Lady Eagles on Saturday afternoon.
The visitors from Mount Vernon built an early 14-5 lead over the first seven minutes of action, but the Lady Eagles responded with a 16-2 run of their own over the next four minutes to go in front 21-16 with nine minutes left in the first half.
Alice Lloyd held a 32-27 lead with just under three minutes remaining before the Cougars went on a 7-0 run to close out the half. Mt. Vernon took a 34-32 advantage into the locker room.
After ALC forward Ariel Nickell tied the game with a basket to start the second half, the Lady Cougars used a 13-4 run to build a 47-38 advantage with 16:00 to go.
The Lady Eagles refused to fold. Over the next ten minutes, they methodically closed the gap and reduced it to just three (62-59) following a trey by Gemma Gray with 5:59 remaining.
Unfortunately, eight straight points by Mount Vernon gave the Lady Cougars their biggest lead of the game at 70-59 with less than three minutes on the clock, and ALC ran out of time.
For Alice Lloyd (1-14), Gray paced the team with 23 points, while Nickell added 17 points before fouling out midway through the second half. Her departure clearly hurt the hosts. Carla McDaniel added a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Sierra Fletcher led the Lady Cougars (7-3) with 20 points and 6 assists.
On the night, Mount Vernon shot 45.3 percent from the field (24-for-53), 30.4 percent from 3-point range (7-for-23), and 60.7 percent from the free throw line (17-for-28). The Lady Eagles shot 40.4 percent from the field (21-for-52), 21.4 percent from 3-point range (3-for-14), and 76.9 percent from the free throw line.