One play, right at the end of the first half, seemed to sum up Heidelberg's 64-62 loss to Mount Union Monday night.
The Student Princes were leading the Purple Raiders, 37-26. Heidelberg's Molly Schriber was inbounding the ball underneath her basket with nine seconds left in the half.
At worst, Heidelberg should have gone to the break up 11. At best, the Princes could have made a last-second shot and been up as many as 14.
Heidelberg’s Molly Schriber goes for a layup against Chandler Moore of Mount Union Monday at?Seiberling Gymnasium.
Instead, Mount Union's Colleen Kennehan stole Schriber's pass, and kicked it out to Robyn Brown, who was standing - wide open - in the left corner. Her 3-pointer cut Heidelberg's lead to 37-29.
Suddenly, the Raiders had momentum.
Using a full court press most of the second half, Mount Union appeared to fluster Heidelberg, forcing it into 10 turnovers. The miscues helped create transition opportunities for Mount Union, which caught up to HU at the 11-minute mark of regulation, then passed it and held on for the win.
"I thought our defense and our rebounding was huge," said Mount Union coach Suzy Venet, whose team improved to 10-9, 4-8 in the Ohio Athletic Conference. "Chandler Moore (13 points, 4 rebounds) did an amazing job; played some significant minutes for us today and just... outstanding on the defensive end."
Heidelberg coach Morgan Shriver said she didn't know why the press gave HU such fits.
"I don't know why, because that's all we practice," Shriver said. "We practice against our own press every single day, so for some reason we decided to dribble into trap areas and turn the ball over."
Shriver said turnovers have been a big problem. She said her team leads the OAC in miscues and is 11th in Division III.
"I think most of them are unforced," she said. "Until we figure out how to be more fundamentally sound, it's going to be a struggle."
It was a struggle defensively for the Princes, particularly in the second half. Mount Union shot better than 54 percent (12 of 22) from the floor. Many of those shots were easy layups, and some came late when Heidelberg needed stops.
"Our communication that second half was a struggle, because we didn't have, we weren't able to talk to our defense right in front of our bench," Shriver said. "Something we've stressed since the beginning of the year is how important communication is, but we have a lot of really quiet girls on the floor, and they just think they can not talk, so on the switches they got lost."
Heidelberg was forced to play the last 14 minutes without forward Molly Schriber, who was out of the game after getting whistled for her fourth foul on the floor, and then (along with Mount Union's Kennehan) for a double foul.
"I think our momentum definitely changed at that time, and then we were a little bit lost, because we didn't know what was going on on the floor," Shriver said.
But despite all of that, Heidelberg did have a chance at the end of the game.
Down 64-61 with 14 seconds left, Kathleen Phillips - who finished leading all scorers with 24 points - got the ball and headed to the right wing. She appeared to have a look at a 3, but passed it up and went to the basket. Her layup missed, but she was fouled with 3.4 seconds remaining.
"If the layup went in, and we fouled her, then I might not be so happy standing here right now," Venet said.
Shriver said she would have liked to reset before the shot, but was out of timeouts.
"I couldn't set up anything," she said. "Besides the Hail Mary at the end of the game, and the last end of the game (Saturday vs. Wilmington, Phillips) is 8 of 9 from 3 [in her last two games] so I don't know why she didn't shoot it."
Phillips made the first foul shot, then 'Berg was whistled for a lane violation. The Princes' Carli Patrick fouled Amanda Turner, who missed her two foul shots with 2.5 seconds left. As Shriver alluded to, Phillips had a three-quarter court 3 attempt at the buzzer to win it, but it was long.
Patrick led everyone up front with 16 rebounds to go with seven points. Columbian graduate Megan Miler added seven points in the loss, which dropped Heidelberg to 10-9, 3-9 in the OAC.
Annie Bova topped the Purple Raiders with 16 points and six rebounds. Willard graduate Aly Daniel, who Venet said is coming off an injury, had two points and two rebounds for the Raiders.