By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Kalamazoo, MI---Karahn Scott posted her second consecutive double-double, but the No. 4 Express women's basketball team had a second half rally fall short in a 69-66 loss to Kalamazoo Valley Community College today.
The Express opened the game strong and led 8-0 just over three minutes in. Nandi Taylor had back-to-back baskets, Uniqua Mitchell hit two free throws and Emma-Jean Ricketts hit a jumper in the paint to give the Express the margin.
KVCC bounced back strong, however, and eventually took a 12-10 lead with 12:21 left in the first half. During that stretch, the Express went 1-for-5 from the field with six turnovers.
Scott then helped the Express regain control with a five point outburst that gave the Express a 15-12 lead with 10:32 left. Her run included a jump shot and three free throws.
KVCC then went on an 11-0 run to take a 23-15 lead before Mitchell and Mackenzie Heacock hit back-to-back 3-pointers to pull Owens within 25-21.
The Express failed to continue that surge, though, and didn't close the half strong. After two free throws from Ricketts that pulled the Express within two at 25-23 with 6:44 left, KVCC closed the half on a 14-4 run to take a 39-27 lead into the break.
As a team, the Express shot only 8-for-35 (22.9 percent) in the first half, but kept somewhat afloat with a 9-for-11 performance from the foul line. Meanwhile, KVCC shot 17-for-38 (44.7 percent) overall and 3-for-6 from 3-point range in the half.
A key first half stat saw the Express turn the ball over 14 times compared to only six for KVCC. Due to those 14 turnovers, KVCC outproduced the Express 22-8 in the paint and 12-5 in points off turnovers. Their bench also outscored the Express 23-8 in the half.
KVCC opened the second half with a 3-pointer from Molly Sleeman to take a 42-27 lead, but the Express fought back throughout the half.
Following Sleeman's three, Danielle Bezeau answered with a three of her own, Taylor hit a jumper and a lay-in, and Scott hit a jumper to cut the deficit to 42-36.
After a 6-0 KVCC run put the lead back at 12, the Express cut the lead in half once again with a 7-0 run that included a lay-in by Meshia Smith, a 3-pointer from Taylor and a jumper from Ricketts.
A 3-pointer from Eboni Adams later pulled the Express within two at 54-52 with 7:32 left. After two KVCC free throws from Khadijah Seawood put the score at 56-52, Scott hit a jumper and the game wouldn't see more than a two-point differential for either team the rest of the way until the final point of the game.
Mitchell hit two free throws to tie it at 56-all with 5:02 left, while the Express took their first lead (62-60) since the 10:32 mark of the first half on a jumper from Mitchell with 2:43 left.
Adams would give the Express the lead once again at 64-62 with a jumper in the paint at the 2:01 mark, and a jumper from Smith put the Express up 66-65 with 49 seconds left.
Breanna Birmingham then converted a 3-point play for KVCC, Smith missed a jump shot, Sleeman hit one of two at the foul line and Mitchell missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer as KVCC pulled out the three point win.
It was the second consecutive game in which Mitchell missed a three at the buzzer that would have tied or won the game for the Express.
Scott led the Express with 13 points, 10 rebounds and six steals, while Mitchell and Taylor each added 11 points. Mitchell also contributed six rebounds, three assists and two blocks, while Taylor added five rebounds, eight assists, and one steal.
Ricketts, who missed time in the second half after an injury, came back to finish with seven points, 11 rebounds and four assists.
Seawood led KVCC with 14 points and nine rebounds, while Sleeman had 13 points and four steals.
Overall, the Express finished 22-for-72 (31 percent) overall from the field and 5-for-15 (33.3 percent) from 3-point range. They shot a season best 17-for-22 (77.3 percent) from the foul line.
KVCC only shot 13-for-26 from the foul line, but finished 26-for-65 (40 percent) from the field overall.
The Express are now 3-2 this year. Their next action is on the road against Mid-Michigan Community College on Nov. 28 at 5:30 P.M.
With her 13 points today, Scott now has 58 points this year and 244 for her career. She already has nearly one-third of the points she had all of last year through the team's first five games.
Mitchell has 59 points in the team's first five games and now has 442 career points. She is on the verge of cracking into the top 40 on the program's career scoring list.
Ricketts has a team-high 61 points this year and 474 for her career. She is one point away from entering the top 35 in career scoring.
Heacock now has 308 career points, which puts her 58th in career scoring.
Only 31 players have reached 500 career points and all four of the aformentioned players have a chance to crack that list this year.