After dominating their previous opponent, Mansfield, by holding them to a drastically low score of a mere 26 points, the lady Marauders took their four game winning streak on the road to East Stroudsburg.
While they searched for their fifth straight win, Millersville’s head coach Mary Fleig celebrated her 700th game in her NCAA Division II basketball coaching career.
Her record heading into the East Stroudsburg game as a head coach at F&M and Millersville is an astounding 460-239, yet her focus was on attaining 461 wins on Feb. 4.
Speaking about reaching the 700 game coaching plateau, Coach Fleig said, “It brings back good memories, and the recognition for being around the area for so long is great.”
It would not be an easy task to get that next win against their PSAC East Rivals, and that would prove to be true, despite Millersville’s good start to the game.
They shot out to a seven point lead just five minutes into the game behind senior Gladine St. Julien’s quick five points, only to see the lead dwindle as East Stroudsburg stormed back.
The home side went on a 17-4 spurt after Millersville’s quick start, which enabled them to head into the break with a three point lead, 24-21.
“A combination of defensive effort and poor shooting kept the game low scoring. We were taking good shots. They just did fall down. They just banged off the rim and fell back out,” Fleig said.
The majority of the game was a close contest; however, the lady Marauders were on the losing side of the scoreboard throughout.
They continued to battle, keeping East Stroudsburg within striking distance.
Shortly after there were five minutes left in the game, the lady Marauders slipped into the lead, 31-30.
Despite pouncing on the host and taking the lead, they could not maintain the momentum, and found themselves in the midst of extra time.
The lady Marauders finally took control of the game in the extra period by getting to the charity stripe.
St. Julien and Junior Jenna Craig hit five of six free throws and senior Jenna Philo put the dagger in their opponents from behind the arc, which helped boost their team to a 51-47 victory.
“We found a way to win on the road, and that is something we had to figure out. We felt so good about our team’s character and fought hard, battling through a lot of adversity as the visitor,” said Fleig.
Once more, Millersville had to play extra minutes at home in the following game against PSAC East leaders West Chester on February 7. This time, it was a double overtime game and the lady Marauders had to do it without Junior Aiesha Bellamy; and, with several other players battling through ailments during the game, leaving the team shorthanded.
The game went back and forth, and there were eight lead changes and nine times that the two quality teams were tied throughout the game. Millersville struggled from the field, yet found a way to stay in the game through their defensive efforts.
Craig notched another double-double, grabbing 16 boards and added 16 points, but during the second OT, not one point was scored by the lady Marauders.
Like the first meeting between these two teams, Millersville fell short in overtime, by a score of 75-71 on their home floor.
Emotions ran high in the locker room following the devastating loss, and despite the team’s mass effort, they could not find a way to win like they did in their previous game.
“The game was like a boxing match. It was a battle that could have went either way. We gave all we had and it shows our true character. I told the team, after the game, that it was an unfortunate loss, and that we need to keep our heads held high,” Fleig said. “We can use this loss as a way to improve our end of game strategies.”
The lady Marauders hit the floor again on Wednesday Feb. 11 against Shippensburg, and then again on Saturday Feb. 14, versus Kutztown at 1 p.m.