NEW ULM - The Martin Luther College women's basketball team took Upper Midwest Athletic Conference-leading Minnesota-Morris to the limit Friday night, but fell just short as the Cougars hit a pair of free throws in the final five seconds to beat the Knights 60-59.
The game was a rematch of the championship game of last year's conference tournament, and went back-and-forth throughout.
UMM led much of the way in the first half, but the Knights kept within striking distance as they trailed 32-29 at the break. Rebecca Engelbrecht had a big half, scoring ten points and grabbing six rebounds while holding Cougars' leading scorer Emily Mehr to seven points on 3-10 shooting.
The second half swung back and forth, with eight lead changes and five ties in the final 20 minutes.
Hannah Hackbarth gave MLC its first lead of the second half at 53-52 with 3:32 on a three-point basket. The two teams traded the lead back and forth the final three minutes, with Alex Anthon, Leah Nass and Hackbarth making shots for the Knights, but Mehr was fouled with five seconds to play and the Knights leading 59-58, sending her to the line for a pair of free throws she would make to give the Cougars the one-point edge.
Anthon had one last chance in the final second on a desperation attempt at the buzzer, but it would not fall.
Brittney Gossen finished with a team-best 12 points for MLC, while Engelbrecht and Hannah Rothe added 11 and 10 points, respectively. Engelbrecht also finished with 11 rebounds and two blocks.
With the loss, MLC dropped to 5-12 on the season and 3-3 in UMAC play, while UMM improved to 9-7 overall and 6-0 in league play.
The Knights host Crown at 3 p.m. today.
MLC men lose
NEW ULM - The MLC men's basketball team was overwhelmed by a second half run by Minnesota Morris in a 92-52 UMAC loss Friday night.
The Knights hung tough in the first half on the way to a 38-32 halftime deficit. UMM took advantage of an 11-4 edge on the offensive glass, leading to a 7-2 edge in second chance points and a 21-14 advantage in points in the paint.
Luke Rothe and Galen Holzhueter finished with 11 points apiece to lead the Knights.
With the loss, MLC dropped to 2-15 on the season and 1-5 in the UMAC. The Knights return to action at 5 p.m. today when they host Crown.