MARS HILL, N.C. – The Mars Hill women's basketball team suffered a 90-64 loss to Lenoir-Rhyne in Stanford Arena on Wednesday night. The loss marks their ninth straight.
The Lions and Bears battled tight in the first period. Mars Hill opened the scoring on a 4-0 run before Lenoir-Rhyne rallied back to take the next six points. The Lions would regain the lead and go on a 6-3 run midway through the period with Sheena Johnson scoring four of the six. The Bears would close out the opening ten minutes on an 8-4 run to take a 20-19 lead into the second stanza. Kendall Toineeta accounted for half of the Bears' points, going 3-for-3 from the field and 2-for-2 from the free throw line.
Lenoir-Rhyne's offense kicked into gear in the second period, outscoring the Lions 28-12. They opened up on a 12-4 run and never looked back. Toineeta added another seven points to further the Bears' lead. Karlie Bearden chipped in with seven points of her own. Sheena and Mariah Johnson each ended the half with seven points for the Lions.
Despite a closer third period, the Lions were unable to make a dent in the Bears lead. Lenoir-Rhyne shot 10-of-20 from the field to outscore Mars Hill 22-16 to carry a 70-47 lead into the final 10 minutes. Shayla Smith scored six of the Lions' 16 points. The South Atlantic Conference's leading scorer, Madi Suddreth had a period-high 10 for the Bears.
The final 20 minutes saw the teams in a more tightly contested game. Over the span, the Bears would outscore the Lions 42-33 to come away with the 90-64 victory. The Lions fall victim once more to a large first half lead that was too much to overcome down the stretch.
Suddreth would finish the contest with a game-high 18 points, followed by Toineeta's 17 point effort. Karlie Bearden and Justyce Swango also ended the game in double-digits with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Smith led the Lions with 14 points in just her second game of the season. Sheena Johnson finished with 13 while pulling down five rebounds, tied with Mariah Johnson for the team-high. Gabby Gianikos added eight points and seven assists on the evening.
The Lions fall to 1-10 (0-4 SAC) while Lenoir-Rhyne improves to 8-4 (2-2 SAC).
Mars Hill takes the court on Saturday, December 16 when they square off against Coker on the road. Tip-off is slated for 2 p.m.