SCOTTSDALE, AZ - A stirring rally fell just short as the Mesa women fell to Lake Region State (ND) at the Bill Culver Memorial Tournament at Scottsdale C.C. Wednesday.
Mesa trailed by as many as 18 points in the first half and 16 in the second, before using a crushing defense and timely three-point shooting to close to within 67-64 with a minute to play. But the T-Birds couldn't cash in at the foul line while the Royals made five straight down the stretch.
Lake Region used great three-point shooting to build a 24-13 first quarter lead and was still up 41-29 at the halftime break. The Royals' Kennedy Henningsgard was 4-9 on threes in the opening half, scoring 17 points. LRS had eight threes at the break.
But led by tenacious defense by Ashle Burns (Fr., Phoenix, AZ/Mountain Pointe H.S.) and key three-pointers by Briana Clah (So., Chinle, AZ/Many Farms H.S.) and Janessa Aukward (So., Phoenix, AZ/Sierra Linda H.S.) MCC came close to completing the comeback.
It all had to be done without leading scorer Taylor Reed (So., Kingman, AZ/Kingman H.S.) who went down with an ankle injury in the first half.
Burns was all over the floor creating numerous steals, while Clah and Aukward made three three-pointers each late. They both finished with 18 points and Sham Troupe (Fr., Phoenix, AZ/Dobson H.S.) added 12.
Henningsgard ended with 24 points for the Royals who are now 11-5.
Mesa, now 6-8, will meet Vancouver Island, of Canada, Thursday at 11:40 a.m. to conclude play in the tournament.