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Lauren Daf­fenberg shoots in a game earlier this season. (S. Nathaniel Grime | Col­legian)

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.

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Nathan is a junior at Hillsdale College studying Rhetoric and Public Address and Journalism. He is Sports Editor and beat reporter for the Football, Women's Basketball, and Baseball teams for the Hillsdale Collegian. When he's not watching or writing about sports, Nathan enjoys playing organ and singing. Originally from St. Louis Missouri, Nathan now lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana. You can follow Nathan on twitter @nategrime or Hillsdale Collegian Sports at @HDaleSports.