HCAC cliffhanger goes way of Defiance

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NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Despite a tough field goal shooting night for Manchester University, the home-standing Spartans nearly picked up a key Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference win Wednesday, Feb. 19.

Trailing by as much as 10 in the second half, MU (13-11, 10-7 HCAC) started to whittle away at the visiting Defiance College of Ohio lead. A 14-5 run that started with just over six minutes to go gave MU a 45-44 edge with only 49 seconds left after sophomore guard Justine Kruger (Francisville, Ind.) hit a lay-up. DC (10-14, 7-10 HCAC) came back on its next possession for the eventual winning bucket when freshman guard Erica Smay hit her second three-pointer of the game for a 47-45 edge. MU, after a timeout with 11.6 seconds remaining, had a good look for junior forward Abby Lang (Indianapolis, Ind.) on a three-pointer that rimmed out.

The Spartans were guided in scoring by senior forward Erynn Meiklejohn (Fort Wayne, Ind.). She tallied 10 points to go with three assists and a blocked shot, both of which were team highs. Sophomore forward Kasey Reneau (Hagerstown, Ind.) was just off the pace for a double-double with seven points and 10 rebounds, while freshman guard Jenifer Lee (Rockville, Ind.) and Kruger each tossed in six points. MU ended the game hitting at a 35.7 percent clip from the field which included going zero-for-four from outside the arc.

Manchester University, sitting in a tie for fourth with Bluffton University of Ohio with one game to play in the 2013-14 regular season, continues its late-season home stretch Saturday, Feb. 22. Second-place Hanover College comes to Stauffer-Wolfe Arena for a 1 p.m. start.

NOTES: Meiklejohn's double-figure effort continued a string of four successive and five double digits finishes in her last six appearances. Her points per game average is up five-tenths (10.8 – 11.3) in the span … Junior guard Jocelyn Hamilton (Columbus, Ind.) upped her string of multiple assist games to 24 in a row with two. She now has 131 for the season … Reneau registered her second double-digit rebound contest. She ended with 12 against the College of Mt. St. Joseph in early January.