Once again, the Hillsdale College Chargers found themselves in a close contest in the second half. This time, it was on the road against the third-place Malone University Pioneers, and despite scoring 49 points in the second half and 28 points in the fourth quarter, Hillsdale didn’t come out on top.
Close games have been a theme for the Chargers in a frustrating season, and their last five games have been decided by less than 10 points. Hillsdale has lost the last four of them, including Saturday’s 90 – 82 loss against Malone.
The Chargers (5 – 14, 2 – 8 G‑MAC) have won just one of their last eight games overall, and despite Saturday’s 82 points being the second-most they’ve scored in a game this season, it wasn’t enough to turn their current slide around.
Hillsdale trailed 38 – 33 at halftime, but a strong third quarter put them ahead with 10 minutes remaining, 54 – 52. The Pioneers outscored the Chargers in the fourth quarter, though, 38 – 28.
Malone shot 68.4% from the floor (13 for 19) in the fourth quarter, and 70% (7 for 10) from beyond the three-point line. The Chargers shot 50% (8 for 16) from the floor and 42.9% (3 for 7) from beyond the arc. Pioneers guard Holly Groff provided most of the damage, making five of six three-point attempts down the stretch.
Malone made 14 of 29 three-point attempts overall, and shot 52.4% total. The Chargers had one of their best shooting games of the season, going 48.3% from the floor and 41.7% from beyond the arc, but again, it wasn’t enough.
Sophomore guard Grace Touchette led the Chargers with 22 points, going 7 for 11 from the floor, 3 for 4 from three-point land, and 5 for 6 from the free throw line. She also had a team-leading six assists.
Senior center Julia Wacker had a season-high 18 points, and has scored 30 points in her last two games combined. She also went 7 for 11 from the floor and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
Senior guard Sydney Anderson followed with 16 points and made a team-leading four three-pointers. She is now averaging more than 10 points per game this season.
Sophomore forward Anna LoMonaco came off the bench for 14 minutes and went a perfect 4 for 4 from the field, scoring eight points with four rebounds. LoMonaco has become the Chargers’ first option at forward off the bench, and her eight points on Saturday tie a season-high.
Sophomore guard Lauren Daffenberg, who has endured a stretch of shooting struggles recently, had a better performance Saturday, making two of four three-point attempts. She scored eight points total, her most since Jan. 9.
Daffenberg averages 12.2 points per game this season and has shot 30.7% from beyond the three-point land overall. She also had six rebounds on Saturday.
Junior guard Jaycie Burger scored seven points in a team-high 37 minutes on the floor. She’s been one of the Chargers’ leading scorers in conference play this season, averaging 11.6 points per game against conference opponents.
Freshman Sydney Mills, who despite coming off the bench this season leads the team with 116 rebounds, played for 20 minutes and scored three points with six rebounds.
The dip in scoring was rare for Mills, who previously scored 18 and 12 points in her last two games before Saturday.
The Chargers return home to host No. 14 Walsh University tonight. The Cavaliers lead the G‑MAC with a perfect 10 – 0 conference record. On Saturday, Hillsdale will get a chance to exact revenge against the Pioneers, who visit for a 1 p.m. game. Tip-off tonight against Walsh is at 5:30 p.m.
Saturday’s game will be a busy one at Dawn Tibbetts Potter Arena, as the team will celebrate Hillsdale College Alumni Day, Senior Day, and Autism Speaks Day.
After this weekend’s two-game homestand, the Chargers will have six games remaining on their regular-season schedule. They have games against Trevecca Nazarene University, Kentucky Wesleyan College, Ursuline College, and the University of Findlay on the road, and games against Tiffin University and Cedarville University at home.