St. Louis, Mo. - Fontbonne University women's basketball head coach Maureen Sias found it difficult to communicate plays on the sidelines tonight in the biggest crowd of the year. The Battle of Big Bend brought over 300 people to Mabee Gymnasium and Fontbonne fans weren't disappointed. A tight and aggressive match for the full hour and a half brought about 35 total fouls in the game and non-stop heart-racing action all the way down to the wire.
Fontbonne trailed 5-7 but a reverse layup by Emmie Haring who then dished an awesome pass to freshman Katie Sportsman tied the game. Webster called a timeout and the duo repeated the same play to give Fontbonne six straight points. Webster answered with seven themselves but Fontbonne finished out the first quarter another seven points to lead 20-14. Fontbonne's 20th point was on a nice pass from senior Lauren Willis to Sportsman who converted the field goal beneath the basket.
Their success was short-lived as Webster dominated second-quarter play. The Gorloks scored 16 points to Fontbonne's six to take a four-point lead at the half.
Fontbonne tied the game 32-32 after Kaitlynn Walker scored on Haring's inbound pass and Sarah Schraut's jumper in the corner from Willis gave the Griffins the lead once more. The Griffins held a 43-41 advantage headed into the final quarter.
Fontbonne led 40-43 after five straight points. Walker's two free throws gave the Griffins' their largest lead of the night (seven points). After leading 52-48 Webster got back into the game and only trailed by one with 1:13 to play. Haring sank both free throws as Webster was forced to foul. The Gorloks called a timeout to advance the ball to half court and were forced to call a timeout immediately following as time was about to expire on their inbounds pass. Webster missed two shots and a Griffin defensive rebounds secured the final point of the contest from the free throw line.
Webster's Taylor Lucas recorded the only double-double with 12 rebounds (11 defensive) and 10 points. She also assisted three times. The Gorloks are now 12-4 overall and 5-3 in SLIAC play.
For Fontbonne, Sportsman scored the team's high of 14 points, only missing one field goal and one free throw. She finished with seven buckets on eight attempts. Schraut was also in double digits with 11 points, shooting 50% in the field and grabbing five defensive rebounds. Haring finished with nine assists and seven points and freshman Raven Venegas grabbed eight rebounds. Fontbonne creeps closer to .500 overall (8-9) and are now even once again in the conference (4-4).
Fontbonne shot 45.8% in the field compared to Webster's 31.0% and the Griffins scored 24 points in the paint compared to Webster's 16. The game saw six lead changes and the Griffins led for over 24 minutes.
This year six teams in the SLIAC seem to be competing for at least three spots in the SLIAC tournament. The second round of conference action begins this Saturday.
Fontbonne completes their home stand by hosting Westminster College this Saturday at 1 p.m. At halftime, the St. Louis Falcons will have their own Special Olympic basketball game with the men cheering them on around the court.