SHERMAN, Texas – Erin Riley, Christina Kime, and Brianna Harvey combined for 70 points and the Austin College women's basketball team poured in 54 second half points but the 'Roos were unable to overcome a big halftime deficit in a 97-85 loss to the visiting University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in the season opener on Saturday afternoon.
The 'Roos came out hot from the perimeter, with Riley and Kime each knocking down a pair of threes to give Austin College an early 12-10 lead. The Crusaders put together a 10-4 run to grab a four point lead before Kali Vittallo knocked down a trey of her own to bring the 'Roos to within one at 20-19 with 12:29 left in the opening half.
Mary Hardin-Baylor was able to extend the lead thanks in large part to the team's ability to draw fouls and convert at the line, as the Crusaders knocked down six foul shots to help push the lead to 35-23 with 8:40 on the clock. Two free throws from Kime pulled Austin College back within 10 but UMHB would end the half on a 20-6 run and take a 55-31 lead into the break. Austin College shot just 33.3% from both the field and the three point line in the opening half.
A pair of threes from Jonelle Smith and a trey from Kourtney Bevers enabled the Crusaders to extend the lead to 66-35 with less than two minutes off the clock in the second half. Two free throws from Bevers made it a 70-39 game, but that's when the momentum started to shift in favor of the 'Roos. Olivia Bailey sparked a quick run with a basket and an assist on consecutive trips and a three pointer from Erin Riley cut it to a 72-50 game with 12:23 to play.
Riley scored eight of the next 11 points for the 'Roos with Kime adding a three pointer and Austin College was able to make it 79-61 with 9:16 left, and another three pointer from Riley, followed by a three point play from the forward from Battle Creek, Michigan brought Austin College to within 12 at 84-72 with 4:28 left to play.
However, some clutch free throw shooting and timely buckets from the Crusaders would keep Austin College from getting the deficit under 11 the rest of the way, and UMHB would hang on to hand the 'Roos a 97-85 loss despite Austin College shooting 56.8% from the field and 71.4% from three point range after halftime.
Kime finished with 25 points, eight assists, and six rebounds and Riley hit 6-of-10 threes on her way to 25 points and seven boards. Riley also added five assists. Harvey went 7-of-12 from the field and scored a career-high 20 in the loss.
Smith paced the Crusaders with 23 points and Taylor Tucker added 19 points and eight boards. Macy Moore chipped in 12 points, and Destini Oakmon added nine points and six assists.
Austin College is back in action on Tuesday, when they hit the road to take on East Texas Baptist University with tip time set for 7:00 p.m.
Austin College athletic teams participate as a member of the NCAA Division III and the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.