MILWAUKEE – The MSOE women's basketball team could not stifle a second-half comeback by Lakeland in suffering a 59-54 defeat Tuesday evening at the Kern Center.
The Raiders (10-12, 7-10 NACC) led by as many as 18 in the game, but the Muskies (15-7, 13-4 NACC) managed to outscore the home team 41-23 in the second half to come away with the win.
Senior Holly Denfeld posted a hard-fought double-double of 17 points and 13 rebounds. Senior Margaret Pugh made some big shots in the second half and finished with 14 points, while sophomore Kiana Jeremiah had 11 points and sophomore Brooke Scott chipped in eight.
Bailey Grayvold had a game-high 24 points for Lakeland, including a 10-for-11 clip at the free throw line. Kayla Clark and Tori Lauren tallied 11 points each.
The Muskies were held under 15 percent shooting in the first half, but were able to claw their way back into the game at the free throw line in the third quarter until their shooting came around. Six-straight charity tosses pulled the visitors under double-digits at 35-26. Then, an 11-3 run to end the third quarter and start the fourth made it just a four-point game at 46-42.
Pugh hit a big three-pointer at the 4:20 mark of the fourth quarter to make it 49-42, but LU responded with four-straight points to pull within three. The teams traded three-point play when Pugh hit another big basket, this time to make it 54-49, but it would be the Raiders' last points.
A pair of free throws and a layup made it a one-point game heading into the final minute. The Muskies then came away with a defensive rebound to set up the go-ahead free throws at the 25.6-second mark. On the ensuing play, a foul gave MSOE the chance to re-take the lead only to see both charity tosses go off the mark.
Lakeland pulled down the rebound, hit two free throws, then stole the ensuing inbounds pass to seal the game.
The Muskies graduated to 42.3 percent shooting in the second half, but went 17-for-18 at the free throw line to aide in the comeback.
MSOE's defense had set the tone early stifling the Muskies and hounding them into just 14.7 percent shooting in the first half. Meanwhile, the Raiders were able to pull away at the other end. They jumped out to a quick 9-3 lead and were ahead after the first quarter, 15-8.
LU scored the first points of the second quarter with a pair of free throws, but the Red & White responded with 11-straight points as the visitors were held without a field goal for 10:51. The Muskies ended the run with a three-point play, but Scott quickly responded with a three and Pugh to make it an 18-point game at 31-13.
Grayvold scored the final five points of the half to make it a 31-18 game at the break.
MSOE finished the game shooting 37 percent on the night, making 6-of-19 from beyond the arc. The two late free throw misses were the team's only of the game as it went 8-for-10. Lakeland finished the game shooting just 26.7 percent, but made the most of 25 trips to the free throw line with 23 made attempts.
The Raiders will return to the floor Saturday, hosting Dominican in their home finale.