FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The University of Denver women’s basketball team out-scored Fort Wayne 44-36 in the second half, but it wasn’t enough as the Pioneers fell to the Mastodons 81-78 at the Gates Sports Center in Fort Wayne, Ind., on Thursday night. The loss drops the Pioneers to 3-14 overall and 1-1 in The Summit League, while Fort Wayne improves to 9-8 overall, 2-1 in league play.
“In the first half, we faced some adversity after getting into some foul-trouble situations,” said head coach Kerry Cremeans. “In the second half, we were able to fight our way through it and I’m proud of the way we were able to come back and outscore them in the second half.”
Junior Theresa Wirth (Mesa, Ariz.) led the Pioneers with 16 points and 11 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season, fifth of her career. The forward finished the night shooting 7-of-8 from the field and 2-of-3 from the line.
Senior Alison Janecek (Omaha, Neb.) posted 15 points off 5-of-8 shooting from the field and 5-of-6 from the line, while also grabbing eight rebounds. Sophomores Paige Bradley (The Woodlands, Texas) and Kailey Edwards (Broomfield, Colo.) rounded out the double-digit scoring with 11 points each, while Bradley added four assists and three rebounds.
Junior Morgan Van Riper-Rose (Eden Prairie, Minn.) chipped in with eight points, all coming in the second half as she was 50.0 percent from beyond the arc, while freshman Alecia Espinoza (Hacienda Heights, Calif.) also added eight points off 4-of-6 shooting from the field.
Denver shot 50.9 percent (29-of-57) for the game from the field, making it the third game this season that the Pioneers have shot above 50 percent, second straight. The Mastodons shot an identical 50.9 percent from the field (27-of-53), while also shooting 80.0 percent (20-of-25) from the line.
The Pioneers out-scored the Mastodons 44-36 in the second half off 53.6 percent (15-of-28) shooting from the field, 42.9 percent (3-of-7) from three-point range and 84.6 percent (11-of-13) from the line. Edwards led the Pioneers with nine points, while Van Riper-Rose and Wirth added eight and seven points, respectively. Of her 11 rebounds, Wirth had six in the second half alone.
After holding a 45-34 lead at the half, the Mastodons increased their lead to 14 points with 16:49 left to play in the game. The Pioneers used a 13-2 run, sparked by a jumper from Van Riper-Rose, to cut the Mastodons lead to three, 55-52, taking four minutes off the clock.
Denver continued to chip away at Fort Wayne’s lead and with 1:18 left to play, Wirth nailed her lay-up to give the Pioneers their first lead of the second half, 75-74. However, the Mastodons outscored the Pioneers 7-3 in the closing minute to seal the 81-78 win.
Janecek led the Pioneers with 10 points in the first half of 3-of-4 shooting from the field and 4-of-4 shooting from the line. Wirth added nine points off 4-of-5 shooting, while also grabbing five rebounds. Denver shot 48.3 percent from the field in the first half, while Fort Wayne shot 57.1 percent.
Denver remains on the road, traveling to Indianapolis, Ind., to take on IUPUI on Saturday at 1 p.m. MT.
Denver Team Notes
- Bradley has recorded three or more assists in 16-of-17 games this season. She has also scored in double figures in 11 games this season and has grabbed at least one rebound in every game.
- Edwards has started in 31 straight games dating back to last season. She has recorded at least one steal in 10-of-17 games played this season.
- Espinoza has grabbed at least one rebound in 11-of-15 games played.
- Janecek has finished in double figures twice this season. She has also grabbed at least one rebound in nine-of-13 games played.
- Wirth has recorded two or more points in the last 23 games dating back to last season. She has also grabbed at least one rebound in 31 straight games dating back to last season.
- With her 16 points and 11 rebounds, Wirth has recorded four double-doubles this season, five over her career.
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