MT. VERNON, Ohio — University of Saint Francis junior guard Lauren McBryar saved the best for last in a 73-66 win at Mt. Vernon Nazarene University on Wednesday night.
McBryar scored 10 of her 23 points in the fourth quarter helping new No. 11 NAIA Top 25 USF outscore No. 26 recieved votes MVNU 18-15. The win moved USF into sole possession of third place in the Crossroads League standings at 5-2 while the Lady Cougars improved to 14-4 overall with their fifth win in their last six games.
USF led 39-26 at halftime, but MVNU got serious in the first 4:50 of the third quarter outscoring USF 17-5 to claw within a point, 44-43 with 5:10 to play in the quarter.
“That’s when you have got to keep your composure and we did a good job at that point,” USF Head Coach Jason Ridge observed.
Lindley Kistler got USF back on track making a pair of free throws for a 46-43 lead with 4:54 to play in the third quarter and USF took a 55-51 lead into the final 10 minutes.
Sidney Crowe buried a 3-pointer at 9:28 for a 58-51 USF lead, then MVNU drew within 58-54 at 8:43 and again at 60-56 with 8:13 to play. That was as close as the home team got with McBryar carving out her own five-point run on a jumper and a 3-pointer for a 65-56 advantage at 7:12. Crowe made a jumper at the four-minute mark for an 11-point lead, 67-56. MVNU closed to within five, but McBryar made 1-of-2 free throws, Savannah Buck made two charity tosses with 26 seconds left for a 71-63 lead and McBryar added two more free throws for a 73-63 USF lead with nine seconds to play.
In the final 1:35, MVNU went 0-for-5 before Taylor Gregory plopped in a 3-pointer with two seconds left to finish the scoring.
USF returns to the Hut for a 1 p.m. game against Spring Arbor University on Saturday.