ABILENE, Texas – McMurry University’s women’s basketball team suffered another tough setback on Thursday evening, falling to Newman University, 60-57, in a Heartland Conference bout at Kimbrell Arena. The loss dropped the War Hawks to 1-8 overall and 1-2 in the Heartland, while the Jets improved to 5-6 on the year and 3-3 in league.
The loss was McMurry’s fourth in a row, after starting what has turned out to be a seven-game homestand with a victory over Rogers State back on November 21.
In the first half of play, there were a total of three ties and seven lead changes. NU opened up an eight-point lead at the 12:25 juncture of the period, 12-4. But a 14-5 run by McM over the next five minutes got the hosts on top, 18-17, after a layup by Keshia Collins.
Sophomore guard Sierra Maykus carried the bulk of the McMurry load in the initial stanza, tallying 12 of her 14 points in the segment.
Newman would eventually carry a one-point lead into the halftime locker room, 30-29.
The War Hawks opened the second period in ambush mode and forged ahead to what would turn out to be their largest lead of the game, 33-30, thanks to back-to-back jumpers by Tineka Lawson (2 points) and Ana Dominguez (9 points) with less than a minute elapsed.
Over the next eight minutes, McM would hit a dry spell and the Jets soared out to their biggest cushion – 10 points – at 45-35, out-scoring the War Hawks 15-2.
But McMurry refused to go away. Behind the efforts of Collins – who scored 16 of her game-high 19 points in the second half – the War Hawks clawed their way back. With 1:05 left on the game clock, McM got to within a single possession, 56-54, after a defensive rebound and subsequent layup by sophomore forward Taylor Russell (6 points).
However, the War Hawks could get no closer as the Jets converted four of six free throws down the stretch to secure the 60-57 win.
On the night, Collins shot 8-of-17 from the floor. She also grabbed five rebounds, blocked two shots and had two assists.
Russell led McM with seven rebounds, six on the defensive end. Dominguez matched Collins’ two blocked shots on defense, as well.
Both teams shot well from the floor, hitting above 40 percent from the field (McM at 42.3 and NU at 43.1). The Jets held a 38-31 margin in rebounds overall, after a 24-12 differential at halftime. McMurry was up 26-20 on points in the paints.
“They have a good team and they have people they can count on to score,” McM head coach Veronica Snow said. “I thought we were well-matched with them. We just didn’t score when we needed to; rebound when we needed to; stop them when we needed to.
“We have no excuses. We lost that game and they won it. We let it get away and we shouldn’t have.”
McMurry will look to snap its current skid on Saturday, when it hosts Oklahoma Panhandle State University at 1 p.m. on the front end of a women’s-men’s doubleheader.