ORLANDO, Fla. – Sophomore Rachael Wagner (Clinton Twp./Fraser) scored a career-high 13 points, but the Olivet College women's basketball team fell to Concordia University-Chicago 65-63 this afternoon at the RDV DIII Classic in Orlando, Florida. For her efforts, sophomore Kelsey Campbell (Olivet) earned all-classic honors.
The first nine minutes and 49 seconds of the game was a back-and-forth affair with three tied scores and three lead changes. Concordia seized a six-point lead, 18-12, with 8:29 left before halftime. Olivet cut its deficit down to two points, 18-16, with a jumper and two foul shots. The Cougars answered with a 5-0 run to take their largest lead of the game, 23-16, at the 5:43 mark.
Over the next two minutes, the Comets scored seven straight points to tie the score at 23-23. The run was capped by two fast-break baskets by Wagner. Concordia made a free throw and layup to take a 26-23 lead. The teams traded baskets before junior Sydney Radde (Stevensville/Lakeshore) made a layup to put Olivet ahead 29-28 at the 2:08 mark.
Concordia regained the lead on a 3-pointer with 1:23 left. Radde drained two free throws to knot the score at 31-31. In the final 35 seconds, the Cougars had a free throw and 3-pointer to take a 35-31 lead at the halftime break.
Concordia opened the second half with another 3-pointer on its first possession to take a 38-31 lead. The Cougars then stretched their lead to as many as nine points, 45-36, with 15:00 left in the game. Olivet put five consecutive points on the scoreboard to make the score 45-41. The teams swapped baskets over the next two minutes to keep the Comets' deficit down as low as four points on three occasions with the last time being 49-45.
Olivet took a 50-49 lead after sophomore Heather Lauwers (Ortonville/Brandon) made a layup and Campbell canned a 3-pointer. After a timeout, the Cougars grabbed the lead back but a 3-point play by junior Brittany Brown (Inkster/John Glenn) put the Comets back up by two, 53-51, with 8:15 left in the game.
After Concordia tied the game at 53-53, the teams traded the lead four times. The Cougars grabbed a 58-57 lead at the 6:18 mark and did not relinquish it for the rest of the game. Down two points with 35 seconds, the Comets had the chance to tie the game. After missing a 3-pointer, Lauwers grabbed the offense rebound and was fouled on the play. She missed both foul shots.
The teams shot nearly identical percentages from the field, 38.8 percent (19-of-49) for Olivet to 38.6 percent (22-of-57) for Concordia. The Cougars made four more 3-pointers, 8-4, while the Comets were 21-of-25 from the charity stripe and Concordia was 13-of-20. Olivet out-rebounded the Cougars, 39-30.
Wagner had six rebounds and three steals to go along with her 13 points. Junior Mellissa Bageris (Milford) also scored 13 points, including three baskets from behind the arc. She was one point shy of tying her career-high. Campell finished with 11 points, six assists and three steals. Lauwers led all players for the second straight game with 12 rebounds, including five offensive caroms.
Kassy Koehler topped Concordia with 25 points, including 20 in the first half. Christina Calabrese contributed 18 points. Claire Mackey grabbed eight rebounds.
Olivet (2-10) will return to Michigan tomorrow and then host Hope College next Wednesday, Jan. 4. Tip-off from The Cutler Event Center is 7:30 p.m.