Down 60-49 with 6:01 left to play, The College of Wooster women's basketball team stormed back against Allegheny College with a 9-0 run over a two-minute span, but close-out jumpers and clutch free-throw shooting from the Gators put a damper on the Fighting Scots' comeback effort as Allegheny held on to win 73-64 on Wednesday evening at the David V. Wise Center in Meadville, Pa.
Three Scots finished in double figures, led by 16 points from sophomore Anna Gibbs. Junior Aki Shurelds tallied 13 points and eight rebounds while first-year Kylie Orr contributed 13 points in 21 minutes off the bench for Wooster (1-14, 0-6 North Coast Athletic Conference).
Olivia Barkley of Allegheny (3-11, 1-5 NCAC) led all scorers with 24 points on 8-for-18 shooting, paired with a perfect 8-for-8 from the foul line.
In what was a consistent defensive battle, it became apparent that the game would be won in the fourth quarter as neither team garnered more than a two-point advantage by the end of each period.
On the day, Wooster shot 28.8 percent from the floor, compared to 32.9 percent from Allegheny.
In the first period, Orr came out red-hot for the Scots, going 3-for-3 from the field with two 3-pointers that kept the Scots in contention after finding themselves down 12-4 out of the gate.
Junior Katie Mandych tied it up at 17 with a jumper to start the second period, while a 3-pointer from Orr and two free-throws from first-year Courtney Lockhart granted the Scots their first lead of the game (22-21) with 5:47 left in the first half.
Both squads battled back-and-forth throughout the remainder of the half, entering the locker room tied at 30. At the break, Wooster was held to 28.1 percent shooting while going 8-for-17 from the foul line. Allegheny remained competitive thanks to second-chance opportunities, as the Gators nabbed 10 offensive rebounds in the opening 20 minutes en route to 10 second-chance points.
There were six lead changes throughout the first half and eight overall.
After matching 4-0 runs to start the third period, Allegheny took a three-point lead (37-34) after two free throws from Barkley. Shurelds responded, tying up the game 37 with an and-one layup before converting another tying layup with 6:52 left in the third.
The Scots would retake the lead at the 5:03 mark after a skip pass from first-year Akwia Tilton found Gibbs, who buried a 3-pointer to give Wooster a 42-41 advantage. A made free throw from Mandych stretched the lead to two, but an 8-4 Gators' run gave Allegheny a 49-47 lead heading into the fourth.
Allegheny's Amanda Beebe stretched the lead to three (50-47) with a free throw five seconds into the period, but Tilton responded, lifting the Scots to within one with a layup at the 9:12 mark.
Two consecutive three-pointers from Beebe and Delaney Arbore brought the Gators ahead by seven before made layups from Madison Caufield and Arbore made it a 10-0 run, giving Allegheny an 11-point lead (60-49) with 6:01 remaining.
Sophomore Christina Vukovich stepped up with a layup in the paint to stop the bleeding and bring the deficit back to single digits at the 5:39 mark. Five straight points from Gibbs and another layup from Vukovich found the Scots within two (60-58) with 3:51 left, but lockdown defense and free throw conversions aided the Gators, who held on for their first win in conference play.
In the final 10 minutes, Wooster went 6-for-21 from the field (28.6 percent), including 1-for-11 from beyond the arc. Allegheny shot 6-for-16 in the fourth en route to 24 fourth-quarter points.
Senior Rachel Collins led all Scots with eight rebounds and Gibbs dished a team-best four assists.
The Scots return to action on Saturday, Jan. 14 at Wittenberg University (6-10, 2-5 NCAC) at 2 p.m.