NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Buoyed by the play of the youthful trio of sophomore forward Abby Lang (Indianapolis, Ind.) and freshmen guards Hannah Field (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and Katie Arterburn (Indianapolis, Ind.), Manchester University narrowly missed overtaking visiting Muskingum University in its season opener Friday, Nov. 16.
Lang tossed in a team-high 12 points on five-of-eight shooting from the field which included hitting two-of-three three-point attempts, picked up two steals and blocked a Muskie shot attempt. Field scored 11 points and turned in a team-best six assists off the bench, while Arterburn tallied 10 points during a 67-64 loss.
Muskingum held a 27-25 halftime lead after a topsy-turvy first half and stretched that advantage to as much as 14 midway through the second half. However, Coach Josh Dzurick's squad took off on a 13-2 run behind some solid defensive play to make it 45-44 with over nine and a half minutes to go. Muskingum managed to increase the lead to 11 from that point but had to hold off another Black and Gold roll in the closing moments to seal the win.
MU continues play in its 2012 Banker's Classic Saturday, Nov. 17. The Spartans square off with D3Hoops.com No. 6-ranked Mount Union. The Purple Raiders opened the weekend with a 73-68 win over #5 ranked and defending national Illinois Wesleyan in Friday's first game. D3Hoops.com preseason All-American Rosa LaMattina scored 19 points and picked up six steals to spark Mount Union in a rematch of a 2012 sectional final thriller won by the Titans in the closing moments. Junior forward Shelby Jackson tallied 21 points to guide IWU.
A 12-0 run by Mount Union that began at the 13:33 mark of the second half broke up a 48-48 tie. Illinois Wesleyan whittled the deficit to four in the final minute. The Purple Raiders iced the decision at the free throw line, hitting three-of-four attempts in the last 46 seconds.
Saturday's first game pits Illinois Wesleyan and Muskingum at 1 p.m. followed by the Spartans-Purple Raiders clash at 3 p.m. A special awards ceremony follows the second game honoring members of the all-tournament team and recognizing team awards.