Updated Thu, Jan 16, 2014 4:12 pm
The Marietta Pioneers (8-6) (2-5) suffered their first loss inside Ban Johnson Arena on Wednesday night, falling to the Mount Union Purple Raiders (8-6)(2-5) by a score of 71-60.
The Pioneers were undefeated in their previous six games at home and Wednesday’s loss was the second straight loss of 10-plus points for Marietta.
“Mount Union played very well,” senior guard Paige Lamb said. “We didn’t execute as well as we wanted to and it wasn’t enough. It’s a disappointing loss.”
“We came into the game comparing records and you can never do that,” head coach Stacia Shrider said. “We knew it would be a tough game coming in and they outefforted us.”
Both teams opened the game trading buckets through the first 12 minutes, yet neither team could grow a lead of more than four points.
A Heather Booth jumper put the Pioneers in the lead 17-15 with 8:59 left in the first half.
Mount Union answered by going on a 7-0 run to take the lead. From there on out, they never looked backed.
Two free throws from Colleen Kennehan in the closing seconds gave the Purple Raiders a 37-29 lead going into the locker room.
Marietta cut the deficit to seven early in the second half, but never got any closer.
Mount Union extended its lead to 20 points during the second half but held off a late rally from the Pioneers to pull out the win.
Marietta junior Candice Alexander had a career-high 24 points, 3 rebounds and 3 steals. Booth added 12 points of her own, while pulling down 4 rebounds.
Chandler Moore and Annie Bova led the Purple Raiders, both chipping in 14 points. Sarah Grippi added 9 points and 11 boards.
“Mount Union put a lot of pressure on us,” Shrider said. “They played a lot of different D’s that we haven’t seen before and it really threw us off.”
Marietta was outrebounded 44-39 and turned the ball over 15 times.
This loss was the second straight loss in Ohio Athletic Conference play for the Pioneers.
“The team needs to try to control the things we can control the things we can,” Lamb said. “If we do that, play solid defense, rebound the basketball and put the ball in the hole, we’ll be golden.”
“We need to come to practice with full focus to make adjustments,” senior guard Tori Dixon said. “Our defense needs to spot on and we have to go to the gym and get shots up so we make them come game time.”
With the Pioneers’ record now 2-5 in the OAC, Shrider is still looking for leadership.
“We need to find someone to be a leader for this team,” Shrider said. “The OAC is a tough conference so we need to step up are game defensively. We have to start playing with more pride and hitting shots. These are collegiate athletes and the need to hit the open shots.”
Marietta will look to get back on track at home on Saturday as they take on the Blue Streaks from John Carroll. Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.