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MU pushes HCAC runner-up to wire

NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – In a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference contest that featured nine lead changes and ties, Manchester University and Hanover gave the Senior Day 2014 crowd at Stauffer-Wolfe Arena a frenetic finish to the 2013-14 regular season.

MU forward Erynn Meiklejohn (Fort Wayne, Ind.), playing in her final home game, responded with a sparkling 17-point, seven-rebound, three-blocked shot effort. She helped the Spartans (13-12 overall, 10-8 HCAC) make several runs at visiting Hanover (16-9, 14-4 HCAC) with the assistance of three three-point baskets, too.

After nearly 39 minutes of back-and-forth action, the final 1:49 determined the outcome. Freshman guard Jesse Davidson canned a key three-pointer to give the Panthers a 77-74 lead, but Manchester University cut the lead to one with a pair of free throws from junior guard Alyssa Smith (Bluffton, Ind.) on its ensuing possession. After a missed three-point shot by HC, MU had a chance to regain the lead but a turnover gave the ball back to the visitors which they cashed in with two successful free throws. MU did get one more opportunity to tie it but a good three-point look from sophomore guard Katie Arterburn (Indianapolis, Ind.) rimmed out to seal Hanover's 79-76 win.

Meiklejohn was joined in double figures by Arterburn and fellow sophomore guard Justine Kruger (Francisville, Ind.). Kruger's 18 points and nine rebounds led the home team, while Arterburn added 14 points and eight rebounds during a day in which she canned four three-pointers. Junior guard Jocelyn Hamilton (Columbus, Ind.) ran her multiple-assist string to 25 straight contests by dishing out seven.

The Spartans, ending the HCAC campaign in the top five, begin the 2014 HCAC postseason tournament Friday, Feb. 28, at Transylvania University's Beck Center in Lexington, Ky. Manchester University, the number five seed, faces fourth-seeded Bluffton University of Ohio at 6 p.m. in one of two quarterfinal round clashes.

NOTES: Meiklejohn continued an impressive late-season run with her fifth successive double-digit total. Her three three-point buckets marked a career single-game high, while her blocked shot total was the ninth time she's repelled multiple opponent shot attempts this season … Kruger's 18 points were a single-game career high … Arterburn converted on multiple treys for the 11th time this year … Hamilton's assist effort moved her to 138 just six shy of setting a new single-season program record.