Rough start to fourth quarter proves costly as QU women suffer loss at McKendree


Quincy University's Cymirah Williams, right, looks to attack along the baseline during Thursday night's game against McKendree in Lebanon, Ill. | Photo courtesy Max Bennett, McKendree athletics

LEBANON, Ill. — The problem the Quincy University women’s basketball team seemed to have fixed resurfaced Thursday night.

Three quarters of quality play were undone by one rocky stretch.

The Hawks led McKendree by one point heading to the fourth quarter of Thursday night’s Great Lakes Valley Conference, only to get outscored 11-2 over the first five minutes of the final frame en route to suffering a 74-68 loss at the Harry Statham Sports Center.

Quincy, which had a three-game win streak snapped, opened the fourth quarter by going 1 of 7 from the field, missing two free throws and turning the ball over twice. A Mariann Blass 3-pointer with 4:36 ended the drought and sparked a 9-3 run that enabled the Hawks to pull within 70-68 with 45 seconds to play.

The Hawks (9-13, 8-8 GLVC) got the defensive stop they needed as the Bearcats’ Clare Breden missed a jumper with 15 seconds to play, but McKendree’s Naomi McDaniel ran down the long rebound. It forced Quincy to foul, and McKendree’s Christy Fortune made a pair of free throws for a 72-68 lead with 11 seconds remaining.

Blass missed a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession, and Quincy turned the ball over despite getting the offensive rebound. A pair of free throws by McKendree’s Erin Golden sealed it.

The Hawks shot 43.8 percent or better from the field in the first three quarters, but shot just 29.4 percent in the fourth quarter. Worse, the Hawks went 5 of 13 from the free-throw line, while the Bearcats (17-5, 13-3 GLVC) went 16 of 17 at the charity stripe.

Junior forward Cymirah Williams finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Hawks, while Blass went 4 of 7 from 3-point range and scored 14 points. Breden led three Bearcats in double figures with 17 points.

With six games remaining in the regular season, including Saturday’s trip to Missouri-St. Louis, Quincy is ninth in the GLVC point rating system used to determine the eight-team field for the conference tournament. Indianapolis is eighth and visits Pepsi Arena next week.

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