SWANNANOA, N.C. - Despite a late push from the Lions, the Mars Hill women's basketball team dropped a 76-74 decision to the Warren Wilson Owls inside DeVries Gymnasium Tuesday evening. Gabby Gianikos had a team-high 21 points.
Trailing 51-49 entering the final quarter, each team scored 25 points; a game-high for both squads. Gianikos took the team on her back, scoring eight points and pulling down three rebounds. In the final second of the game, a 3-point heave from the freshman resulted in a foul that sent her to the line for three attempts. Hitting 2-of-3, the Lions were unable to steal the ball on the ensuing inbounds pass to fall to the Owls for the first time in program history.
Mars Hill (1-8, 0-2 SAC) found their footing in the third quarter, outscoring the Owls 16-11 to pull within two heading into the final 10 minutes. Alexus Grubbs had five points on 2-of-4 shooting. The Lions outshot the Owls with a shooting percentage of 43.8 (7-of-16) compared to 16.7 percent (3-of-18).
Mariah Johnson opened the scoring just three seconds into the contest with a layup to give Mars Hill its first lead of the quarter. Danasia Dumas led the Owls 10-5 surge with eight points over a 1:30 span in the first quarter. The Lions would pull within one point two separate times in the first, but the Owls crisp ball movement and offensive conversions propelled them to end the first half on a 14-10 run.
The second quarter was evenly contest with both teams scoring 16 points apiece. The Lions entered the half trailing 40-33. Gianikos led the Lions with nine points, followed by Grubbs' six. Dumas paced the Owls offense going 5-of-10 from the field for 11 points. Amber Godfrey added nine points.
Turnovers once again played a pivotal role in the contest. The Owls forced the Lions to make 14 first half errors compared to their five. Mars Hill ended the game with 27 turnovers to the Warren Wilson's nine.
The Owls' victory was the first over the Lions in the head-to-head series (4-1). Warren Wilson improves to 7-5 on the year. Dumas had a game-high 25 points and added seven rebounds.
Mars Hill returns to Stanford Arena for a South Atlantic Conference matchup versus Newberry on Saturday, December 9. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.