Blue Angels battle, fall just short against Grace Bible

Release Courtesy of Mount Mary Athletics

MILWAUKEE – The Mount Mary University basketball team challenged all afternoon in its Saturday matinee at the MMU Bloechl Center. However, despite playing their most complete game of the season, the Blue Angels could not find that final push to overtake the Tigers, falling in a hard-fought 62-55 decision against visiting Grace Bible College.

"We've done a lot of talking about our mental approach to games," head coach Marc Heidorf said. "Today we say first hand how that mental focus can translate physically into games."

"It wasn't necessarily a great day for our program," Heidorf added, "but it was a good enough game to lead me to believe there are great days for our program on the horizon."

Both teams trudged out to a bit of a slow start, as turnovers dominated the early storylines for both teams' offenses. The Blue Angels' pressure in the halfcourt, paired with Grace's pressure in the backcourt wreaked havoc on both squads' ability to get into respective offenses. The game featured 37 turnovers in the first half alone—18 for Grace and 19 for MMU.

Teams settled down in the second half, as Mount Mary was able to utilize its size underneath for some easy looks. Sophomore guard Yolanda Coleman(Wauwatosa, Wis.) connected with senior forward Ashley Leverenz (Mauston, Wis.) for some quick points early and often.

Coleman tallied a season-high seven assists on the afternoon.

Leverenz scored 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting to go with 11 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season.

The addition of experienced sophomore forward Doni Yendriga (Conneaut, Ohio) gave the Blue Angels another strong option inside as well. The transfer from Maine-Presque Isle, who was cleared earlier this month after a shoulder injury, tallied eight points and five rebounds in her second game of the year.

Senior guard Emily Barker (Oconomowoc, Wis.) led Mount Mary's scoring with 18 points. She also picked up seven rebounds, two assists and three steals to her resume while shooting 9-for-10 from the free-throw line for a very complete game.

Mount Mary played from behind for much of the game and faced its greatest deficit at the 11:03 mark of the second half, a 48-32 lead by Grace. However, the Angels responded with an 8-0 run of their own behind layups from barker and Yendriga, as well as some clutch free-throws from freshman Taylor Baumgart(Burlington, Wis.), who tallied nine points Saturday afternoon.

The Blue Angels got into the bonus early in the second half and took full advantage by shooting 18-for-24 from the line in the second half alone. Mount Mary also warmed up from the floor, shooing a season-high 42.9 percent after the halftime break.

However, the Tigers effectively wound down the shot clock late in the game and hit clutch shots down the stretch to win their sixth straight contest and improve to 9-4 on the year. Mount Mary, meanwhile, falls to 0-10.

The Blue Angels will be back in action at the Bloechl Center Wednesday to face the Illinois Institute of Technology in a 5:00 p.m. matchup. The Scarlet Hawks are 1-12 on the year—their lone victory coming over Northeastern Illinois University, 82-29, in mid-November.