CLARION, Pa. – A huge third-quarter run put the Golden Eagle women’s basketball team in position to complete a comeback win, but Mercyhurst overcame a late deficit of their own as the Lakers defeated Clarion 68-65 in Tippin Gymnasium. Clarion (3-11, 1-7 PSAC) will play the second of three straight home games on Saturday when they host Pitt-Johnstown in a 1 p.m. tip.
The Golden Eagles trailed by seven points at halftime but flew past the Lakers in the third quarter, outscoring them 19-9 to take a lead heading into the final 10 minutes of action. They led by as many as seven points in the fourth quarter and led as late as the 3:31 mark, when Mercyhurst tied the score at 59 on a jumper by Lauren Lapertosa. The Lakers led by two points with 26 seconds remaining, but shots by Yndiah Bobo and Emily Hegedus with less than five seconds remaining fell errant.
Ke’Airah Massiah led all players with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting, and was especially effective in driving to the hoop and drawing attention from the Lakers. Bobo and Yasmin Lewis both broke double figures with 13 and 10 points, respectively. Mercyhurst was efficient from the floor, shooting 27-of-51 (.529) from the field but was just 9-of-20 (.450) from the free throw line.
The Lakers led by as many as eight points in the early part of the third quarter, but Clarion chipped away until finally breaking through and taking the lead. Emily Hegedus scored on a fast break layup at the 6:36 mark of the third to make it 42-36, and Celeste Ryman cut the Lakers’ lead to two points with a three-pointer that made it 42-40. She added the equalizer at the 3:51 mark, making two free throws to tie the score at 44, and Massiah added two on the next possession to put the Golden Eagles ahead. Lewis followed up with a layup at the 3:10 mark to make it 48-44, and Clarion led 50-47 at the end of the third.
She extended that lead to five points at the start of the fourth with a turnaround jumper, and Bobo scored at the 9:04 mark to make it a 54-47 advantage. The Lakers rallied from there with a 17-5 run, taking the lead with 2:52 remaining on a jumper by Lapertosa. Though the Golden Eagles cut it close they were never able to regain the lead.