GRAND RAPIDS - Despite trailing by as many as 18 points, the Aquinas women's basketball team nearly completed a huge comeback on Wednesday night (Dec. 6) in the Sturrus Center against visiting Indiana Tech. The Saints rallied all the way back to a one-possession game in the final minute, but the #11 Warriors forced a defensive stop and held on for the 68-63 victory.
Wednesday's contest was a matchup of two of the top teams in the WHAC. The final result puts Indiana Tech at 10-2 overall and 4-1 in conference play, while Aquinas drops to 7-4 on the year and 4-2 in league action. It was the first home loss of the year for the Saints, who are now 4-1 in Grand Rapids.
Interestingly enough, AQ outscored the Warriors in the second, third, and fourth quarters – but ITU got off to such a hot start, leading 23-5 after the first quarter. For the game, Indiana Tech shot 38.1 percent from the field to Aquinas' 37.1 percent. The visitors made seven three-pointers, while AQ drained six trifectas. At the line, ITU was 13-of-17 and the Saints went 11-of-21.
Three AQ players reached double-digits, led by the second straight double-double from Michaela Faber (JR/Grand Rapids, Michigan). The reigning WHAC Player of the Week, Faber totaled 15 points and a career-best 16 rebounds, seven of which came on the offensive end. Faber was 7-of-11 from the field.
Momo Neal (SR/Muskegon, Michigan) delivered 14 points, six assists, and three boards, while making 5-of-7 free throws. Bri Spica (JR/Grand Rapids, Michigan) notched 10 points and hit three clutch three-pointers in the fourth quarter to nearly pull the Saints even on the scoreboard for the first time since the opening tip.
Indiana Tech held the 18-point edge at the end of the first quarter and the lead was 39-24 at halftime. The Saints pulled within 10 points three times in the third quarter, making it 51-41 on a Faber layup to send the game to the fourth stanza.
The Warriors pushed back out to a 15-point cushion with 3:46 to play, but AQ made one last run. Spica hit back-to-back three-pointers in 43 seconds to get the Saints within single digits at 62-53 with 2:58 remaining. She hit a third trifecta 28 seconds later and all of a sudden, it was 62-56.
After an ITU score, Neal buried a three-pointer and it was 64-59 with 1:05 to play. AQ forced a missed shot and on the other end, Neal scored and was fouled – she converted the old-fashioned three-point play to make it 64-62 with 30 seconds left.
It was 66-63 and Indiana Tech's ball with 20 seconds remaining, but the Warriors turned the ball over on the inbounds pass, giving it back to Aquinas. The Saints drew up a potential game-tying play, but the three-pointer was off target. ITU corralled the rebound and was fouled, then made two free throws with two seconds left to seal the victory.
In the game, Aquinas committed 18 turnovers and forced 17 Warriors miscues. The Saints held slim edges in the paint (30-28) and second chance points (15-13), owning a 13-10 advantage in offensive boards.
Camaryia Williams (JR/Muskegon, Michigan) pulled down eight rebounds to go with two assists and two steals. Carley Andrews(SO/Sparta, Michigan) scored six points and Hannah Brefeld (JR/Dearborn, Michigan) came off the bench to notch five points.
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