CINCINNATI, Ohio - The Mount St. Joseph women's basketball team welcomed the Quakers of Earlham College into the Harrington Center for the final Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season game of the 2018-19 season on Saturday. Going into the game the Lions had already claimed a spot in the HCAC tournament, the only thing that was up in the air was seeding. The Mount did their part by taking down the Quakers 59-57 thanks in large part to a Maddie Haberthy (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mother of Mercy) last second shot.
Before the game, The Mount honored their three seniors, Hayley Hudson (Ross, OH / Ross), Lainee Studer (Pleasant Plain, OH / Little Miami), and Brooklynn Sturwold (Cincinnati, OH / Mother of Mercy), for their outstanding careers at The Mount, as well as student assistant coach Joshua Kruzel.
The Lions entered today's game hoping to get one more win in front of the Harrington Center crowd and possibly clinch a home game in the HCAC tournament. Something which has not been accomplished by the women's basketball team at The Mount in more than a decade. The Lions fought hard during the first half of play especially on the defensive end. Aliyah Huff (Cincinnati, OH / Roger Bacon) played a big role in the first half defensively, with three blocked shots and a pair of rebounds. Entering the halftime break the Lions trailed the Quakers 26-21.
The Lions found their stride offensively in the third quarter. After shooting just 33.3 percent (7-21) in the first half, they were able to shoot 43.8 percent (7-16) in the third quarter. They also turned up the defense another notch in the quarter. By holding Earlham to just 28.6 percent from the field in the third, which helped them to outscore Earlham 21-13 in the period. With just 4:13 left on the clock in the third quarter the Lions were still trailing 36-32. Over the next two plus minutes of action they put together a quick 9-0 run, which featured a Studer 3-point play, and a pair of threes by Haberthy and Hudson.
Entering the fourth quarter The Mount held onto a slim advantage. Earlham though came out fighting like a team who saw their opportunity for a berth in the HCAC tournament slipping through their fingers. The action was back and forth throughout the quarter, but the Lions maintained the lead until the final seconds. With just 11 seconds to play Maddie Haberthy stepped to the free-throw line with a chance to put the Lions up by three. She missed the first free-throw before burying the second, setting the score at 57-55 in favor of the Lions. Earlham quickly raced to the other end of the floor and tied the game on a Zoe Curtis layup. With just 4 seconds left to play in regulation the game seemed destined for overtime. But Hayley Hudson quickly inbounded the ball to Studer who took a pair of dribbles and launched a three-quarter court pass in to the hands of a waiting Haberthy. Haberthy caught the ball, turned and fired from just inside the three-point line as the buzzer expired. The prayer shot found the bottom of the net securing a 59-57 victory for the Lions.
The Lions were led in the game by a double-double effort out of senior Lainee Studer, who had what might have been her finest game of the season. She scored 16 points, pulled down 10 rebounds, added 4 steals, 2 blocks and a pair of assists. Haberthy led the way offensively for the Lions scoring a team-high 18 points.
With the win the Lions have earned the right to host Defiance College (9-16, 8-10 HCAC) in the opening round of the HCAC tournament on Tuesday, February 19th. During the regular seasont the teams split their matchups, with each team winning a close game on their home floor. Tuesday's game is schedule to tip-off at 7:30 PM in the Harrington Center. Continue to check out MSJSports.com for updates on the Lions throughout postseason play!