Lock Haven University outlasts Mansfield in a close one, 61-56

Senior guard Kayla Henderson (23) of Lock Haven University prepares the offense for a trip down the court. (Photo courtesy of LHU Women's Basketball)

LOCK HAVEN — It wasn’t always pretty, but for the Lock Haven University women’s basketball team, it was a badly needed win.

Unable to finish games throughout the season, the Lady Eagles found a way to put the lid on this one with tough play down the stretch as they outlasted Mansfield for a 61-56 win at Thomas Field House Wednesday night.

“We found a way to finish the game,” said a happy LHU head coach Jennifer Smith. “I think we learned how to win a little bit tonight. We have had some stretches where we played some bad basketball this season. We fixed some things and we found a way to win and that is all that matters.”

Rileigh Devine led all scorers in the game with 19 points for LHU, Devine joined in doubles by Jalyn Shelton-Burleigh with an even dozen.

For Mansfield, Brielle Kelly led the way with 15 points before exiting in the final period with an injury. Alyssa Mullins notched doubles with 11 points, Erin Gibbons counting 10. Mullins just missed a double-double with nine boards.

Turnovers have been the major thorn in the side of the Lady Eagles in most of their games, but the final stat sheet showed a major improvement in that category with 11 only giveaways,

“Any time we can stay under 13 is a win for us in the turnover catgegory,” said Smith. “I think they got a little more comfortable with their decision making. We just have to work hard for the rest of the season in limiting out turnovers.”

When it was all said and done, all of the Lady Eagles that played made some type of positive contribution to the effort, led by Annie Dombrowski. Dombrowski only had two points and four boards, but she hustled Mansfield into numerous mistakes during the game with her defense.

“Annie Dombrowski played her heart out. We wouldn’t have won the game without her effort,” said Smith. “She only a couple of points, but she does so many little things for us. She gives people energy and pulls the rest of the team along. When you look at her stat line, it doesn’t show how important she is to the team.”

The first period was one of a sloppy nature with Mansfield holding as much as a 7-point lead until until LHU cut it down to three at the first turn on a jumper by Kayla Hendersion and a layup by Jordon Kloster.

Playing through ties at 16 and 18, the Lady Mountaineers closed out the second period with a 7-6 advantage to take a 25-24 lead to the locker room at the break. Rayah Fink led the way for the LHU in the closing minutes with a pair of free throws and a trey from downtown.

LHU took the lead at 28-27 on a layup by Kayla Henderson, but feeling the pressure, the Lady Mountaineers grabbed the lead back at 33-32 four minutes into the period.

With the game tied at 37-all with four minutes left in the third period, Mansfield closed out the period by a 9-6 margin to take a 46-43 lead at the turn for home.

Neither team could gain more than a two-point separation during the final period until a pair of free throws by Shelton-Burleigh gave the Lady Eagles a 59-56 lead with 18 ticks of the clock left.

Already up by three, Henderson hit Bink Redman on a fly pattern for an easy layup to set the final at LHU 61, Mansfield 56.