Case Western Reserve University sophomore Hillary Hellmann scored a game-high 20 points, and senior guard Jess McCoy finished Friday's game with a double-double, contributing 11 points and 12 rebounds, but it was not enough for the Spartans, who dropped the first game of their home conference schedule to the visiting Emory University Eagles, 79-65.
Junior forward Kara Hageman added 16 points and six rebounds, and freshman guard Kendall McConico scored 11 points and collected five rebounds for the Spartans, who dropped to 10-5 overall and to 2-2 in the University Athletic Association with the loss. Emory raised its record to 11-4 with a 2-2 conference record in the win.
McCoy and Hellmann combined to connect on five three-pointers during the first quarter alone, including one by McCoy with 1:16 remaining in the period that put the Spartans up 20-14, their largest lead of the quarter. Case Western Reserve took another six-point lead, 25-19, following a three by freshman guard Alicia Marie Gonzales with 6:38 remaining in the second, but Emory rallied to take a 28-26 lead late in the quarter. However, an and-one by McConico at the tail end of the half gave the Spartans a 36-34 lead heading into the break.
The game remained tight throughout the third. The Spartans surged ahead behind a four-of-four performance from three-point range by Hellmann in the quarter, as she scored 14 of her 20 during the third. Case Western Reserve led by as many as eight in the period after a Hellmann three with 7:09 remaining, but Emory battled back to take a two-point advantage, 57-55, with 1:09 left in the third. Back-to-back and-ones converted by McConico to end the frame helped the Spartans regain a 61-60 lead by the end of the third stanza. However, Emory would take control in the final period, outscoring the Spartans 19-4 in the fourth, en route to the win.
Hellmann matched her career high for three-pointers in a game, shooting six-of-10 from long range, one shy of the school's single-game record.
Five Eagles scored in double figures on Friday, including Azzairia Jackson-Sherrod, who scored a team-leading 16. Michelle Bevan and Fran Sweeney each scored 13 and collected 10 rebounds for Emory.
The Spartans will continue their four-game home stand on Sunday, January 22nd, when the team plays host to the 23rd-ranked University of Rochester at Horsburgh Gymnasium. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.