MARS HILL, N.C. – The Mars Hill women's basketball team dropped a toughly fought battle, 65-62, against Queens inside Chambers Gymnasium Saturday afternoon. Mariah Johnson led the Lions with 18 points.
After a tightly contested third period, the Royals took a 49-47 lead into the final 10 minutes of play. The Lions would tie the game with the first basket of the period and take a brief lead from a 3-pointer moments later by Johnson, but it would be the closest they would come to coming away with their first conference victory and snapping a 13-game losing streak. Four straight points from Herning Wang gave the Royals the lead they would not relinquish for the remainder of the contest.
Leading by as many as seven points down the stretch, the Royals saw the Lions make a charge, scoring four points in the final 11 seconds of the contest. However, the late push was not enough for Mars Hill as they fell 65-62 in a matinee thriller.
The Lions led after the first period, 21-16 with Valeriya Pokrovskaya and Johnson scoring a team-high five points apiece. The spread out offense saw the Lions shoot 53 percent from the field. Queens' Caitlyn Moore led all players with eight points in the opening 10 minutes, going 3-for-3 from the field, including two 3-pointers. Ten turnovers for the Royals resulted in 12 Lions' points.
Queens would come back to pull within one before entering halftime, outscoring Mars Hill 14-10 in the second period. They opened up the second frame scoring seven of the first 10 point to tie the game at 23 with just under 2:30 played. Lade Adepoju led the Royal offense with seven points.
The Lions would maintain the lead with Johnson leading the team after the first 20 minutes with 11 points. Shayla Smith had five rebounds and chipped in four points. Adepoju matched Johnson's output and added six rebounds. Kristian Eanes and Ceara Leavai each had three assists.
Queens would regain the lead with the opening basket of the second half. Adepoju made the layup and exploded for 11 points, pulling down five rebounds to give her a double-double in the period. The Lions would regain the lead and trade baskets with Queens until the final minute of the frame. Down 47-46 with less than one minute remaining, Victoria Robinson would put the Royals up by one. In the last two seconds of the period, Moore hit one-of-two free throws to carry a 49-47 lead into the final frame. Smith had seven points to pace the Lions offense.
Adepoju ended the contest with a game-high 27 points and 16 rebounds. Eanes also finished the game in double-figures with 10 points.
Smith was one rebound shy of a double-double for the Lions, scoring 17 points and pulling down nine rebounds.
The Lions had 22 points off the bench compared to the Royals 11, but Queens dominated in the paint, outscoring Mars Hill 34-18. The teams traded the lead 14 times and were tied on 11 different occurrences throughout the 40 minute contest.
Mars Hill falls to 1-14 (0-7 SAC) while Queens picked up their first conference victory, improving to 4-9 (1-6 SAC) on the season.
The Lions next take on Newberry Monday, January 8 at Eleazer Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m.