The Slippery Rock University women’s basketball team registered their second win in the last three games by defeating the Mercyhurst Lakers 69-64 on the road Wednesday night.
Behind a 30-point game from senior guard Brooke Hinderliter, The Rock improved their record to 5-13 overall and 3-9 in Pennsylavania State Athletic Conference play. The win pulls the Green and White within two games of Pitt-Johnstown, who currently holds the sixth and final seed in the Western Division.
Junior guard Daeja Quick was able to put up 14 points, while senior forward LeeAnn Gibson recorded her third double-double in the last four games and redshirt senior guard Madison Johnson tallied nine points to round out Slippery Rock’s top performers.
Playing on the road at the Mercyhurst Athletic Center, SRU found themselves in a hole early as the Lakers knocked down shots early to open up a 13-4 lead with 5:50 to go in the first quarter.
Displaying some resilience, Slippery Rock spent the rest of the quarter erasing their nine point deficit. The trio of Hinderliter, Johnson and Gibson outscored Mercyhurst 15-6 to tie the game up at 19-19 to close out the first quarter.
In part to a late first quarter run, the Green and White were able to control the pace of the second quarter. After the conclusion of another ten minutes, it was Slippery Rock who carried a 37-31 lead into halftime.
The Rock made Mercyhurst work for a majority of their baskets in the first half, holding the Lakers to a mediocre 8-31 from the field. However, what the Lakers lacked in the field, they made up for on the free throw line. Mercyhurst shot a perfect 14-14 on foul shots, preventing SRU from putting the game away in the first half.
For most of the third quarter, Slippery Rock imposed their will on the Lakers, widening their lead to as much as 13 halfway through the third quarter.
Then, the script flipped.
Mercyhurst caught a second wind and rattled off an 11-2 run to cut Slippery Rock’s lead to 51-47 at the conclusion of the third quarter. The final quarter served as a proving ground for two teams who are currently on the outside looking-in for the playoffs.
Mercyhurst stayed within striking distance of Slippery Rock for half of the fourth quarter, cutting The Rock’s lead down to as little as three with just five minutes to go. However, the experienced duo of Hinderliter and Quick made sure to close the door on a Lakers comeback.
Both guards took turns converting on consecutive three-point plays, to extend the Green and White lead to 62-53 with 3:01 left to play. That nine point lead was enough for SRU to preserve an eventual 69-64 victory, marking their first road win in a month.
Slippery Rock’s defense shined bright against Mercyhurst, as they held the Lakers to a 28.8 field goal percentage (17 for 59). The Lakers 17 made field goals marked the lowest SRU has allowed in a game this season.
The Rock will return to the Morrow Field House Saturday for a 1 p.m. match against Edinboro.