Women's Basketball Drops Close Contest at Marian

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A clutch 3-pointer and free throws down the stretch sealed the home victory for Marian (Ind.) University in Saturday's competitive 50-45 nonconference victory over the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology women's basketball team.

With the Engineers trailing by just two points with 2:25 to play, Marian's Sarah Brewer buried a triple to push the Knights' lead to five. Sophomore Lakan Hasser-Smith connected for two of her game-high 25 points with two free throws late to put the game out of reach and send the Engineers home with the setback.

Senior forward Kelsey Ploof (Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville) led Rose-Hulman with 12 points and a season-high 17 rebounds, one shy of her career-best.

The Fightin' Engineers (0-4, 0-0 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference) remained within striking distance throughout the contest, as they went into halftime down just three points, 21-19.

After Hasser Smith hit a jumper to put the Knights up, 25-21, at the 18:17 mark, Rose-Hulman's defense showed its strength. The Engineers held the Knights (4-5, 0-1 Crossroads) scoreless for the next seven minutes by completing an 11-0 run that gave Rose-Hulman a 32-25 lead.

Freshman Ava Paruleski (Shumway, Ill./Beecher City) started the run with a jumper before dishing one of her two assists to sophomore Carrie Morris (Altadena, Calif./Mayfield) for a layup. Paruleski then drained a triple at the 13:55 mark and classmate Abbie Marshall (St. Louis, Mo./Nerinx Hall) sunk two free throws.

After a Marian turnover, Ploof grabbed one of her seven offensive rebounds and made the putback to put Engineers up, 32-25, and give them their largest lead of the game with 11:21 left in the second half.

That's when Hasser-Smith made her own run. The sophomore hit a triple, buried three more jumpers and completed a three-point play with a free throw to lead a Marian 10-0 run that gave the Knights back the lead (35-32) with 7:42 to play. Morris would answer with a 3 of her own to end the Engineers' scoring drought and tie the game at 35-all.

Both teams traded baskets down the stretch before Brewer buried both of her 3-point makes to put the game out of reach.

Morris added nine points and Lauren Meadows (Indianapolis, Ind./Brebeuf) and Paruleski each finished with four points for Rose-Hulman.

The Knights won the turnover battle, committing just 13 compared to the Engineers' 29. Marian had 19 steals in the contest.

Rose-Hulman opens its home schedule with Wednesday's battle for the Clabber Girl Trophy when St. Mary-of-the-Woods travels to Hulbert Arena for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.