ATLANTA, GA. – In a back-and-forth non-conference match Saturday, Dec. 19, that featured seven ties and three lead changes, Belhaven University of Mississippi averted Manchester University's attempt to split its decisions at Oglethorpe University's Holiday Inn Express and Suites Classic.
The Spartans, falling to 3-6, kept Belhaven (3-6) within its sights throughout the afternoon inside OU's Dorough Fieldhouse and on Pinkholster Court. Despite trailing by as much as eight in the early stages of the second half, MU chipped away and eventually took a 61-60 in the final minute of regulation when senior guard Katie Arterburn (Indianapolis, Ind.) drilled a three-pointer. After hitting one of two free throw attempts off a Belhaven turnover, the lead grew to 62-60 but the visitors forced an extra session by converting a lay-up with eight seconds remaining.
Both teams held advantages in the final five minutes. After surrendering a 67-64 edge and trailing 71-70 in the final 20 seconds, the Black and Gold got the ball back after an offensive foul, but a lay-up rolled out to preserve Belhaven's victory.
The trio of senior guard Justine Kruger (Francisville, Ind.), sophomore forward Samantha Bolen (Greenwood, Ind.) and senior guard Kelcey Daugherty (Greenwood, Ind.) guided the Spartans. Kruger tallied 14 points and seven rebounds; Bolen ended with 13 points and five boards; and Daugherty added 12 points and four assists. Arterburn and sophomore forward Tori Christlieb (Culver, Ind.) were within double-double range, as Arterburn wound up with nine points and seven rebounds, and Christlieb, completing a strong three-game week, compiled eight points and six rebounds.
MU breaks from action due to the Christmas holiday until Wednesday, Dec. 30. They travel to Trine University in Angola that evening for a 5 p.m. tipoff which is part of a doubleheader with the men's team.