Heath’s Big Day Not Enough as Spartan Women Fall to Emory on ‘Senior Day’

Heath’s Big Day Not Enough as Spartan Women Fall to Emory on ‘Senior Day’

Despite a combined 52 points from graduate student forward Melissa Heath and sophomore guard/forward Abbey Lawrence, the Case Western Reserve University women's basketball team lost to Emory University 88-84 on Sunday afternoon at Horsburgh Gymnasium in Cleveland, Ohio on "Senior Day." The Spartans fall to 10-14 on the season and 5-8 in the University Athletic Association, while the Eagles improve to 18-6 overall and 9-4 in the UAA.

Heath scored a career-high 35 points off the bench while making 13 of her 18 shots from the field in the last home game of her collegiate career. The 35 points are the most points by an individual Spartan since January 7, 2017, when Hillary Hellmann scored the same amount in a win at Carnegie Mellon. Lawrence added 17 points on a six-of-nine output from the floor, while also collecting five rebounds, a career-high three steals, and three assists. First-year guard/forward Isabella Mills grabbed a team-high seven rebounds and added eight points.

As a team, CWRU shot 52.6% from the floor, and connected on six-of-11 three-point tries (54.5%).

Even though the Spartans trailed by as many as 16 points late in the second quarter, the team fought back to take a 49-48 lead with 5:45 left in the third quarter. However, the lead was short-lived, and CWRU trailed by four, 62-57, entering the fourth. The Spartans trailed by as few as five points, 83-78, with 1:07 left in the contest, but the Eagles made enough free throws in the final minute to seal the win.

Midway through the first quarter, Emory opened an 11-4 lead. The Spartans responded with four straight points, but Emory scored four of their own to keep the deficit at seven. A three-pointer from Lawrence cut the deficit to four, but CWRU trailed 22-16 after 10 minutes.

Heath tied the game at 24 with a layup in the second quarter, and first-year guard McKenna Gross put the Spartans ahead with a layup of her own to cap a 10-2 CWRU run. The Eagles responded with a 20-2 run to take a 16-point advantage, 44-28, with three minutes left in the first half. Case Western Reserve cut into the deficit and ended the half with an 11-2 run. The Spartans still trailed 46-39 at halftime.

A three-pointer from senior guard Alicia Marie Gonzales ended a 10-2 CWRU run and put the Spartans on top 49-48. Emory responded with a basket to retake the lead, and the two teams traded baskets and the lead over the next two possessions. The Eagles pulled ahead by seven, but Heath cut the deficit to four, 61-57, with a pair of free throws at the end of the third quarter.

Two free throws from junior forward Emma Cain brought CWRU within six early in the fourth quarter, but Emory used a 7-0 run to pull ahead by 13, 74-61, with six minutes left in the game. Gonzales ended the run with a three-pointer, sparking a 9-0 Spartan run to cut the deficit to just four with three minutes remaining. Emory pulled ahead by nine, 83-74, with 1:43 left in the contest. Following two free throws from Gonzales and a defensive stop, Heath added a layup to cut the deficit to five, 83-78, with 1:07 to go. Even with a layup from Heath at the buzzer, the Spartans lost by four, 88-84.

Prior to the start of Sunday's game, the Spartans honored Gonzales, Heath, and senior guard Kendall McConico, who each played in the final home game of their collegiate careers.

CWRU finishes the season with a trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to face Carnegie Mellon on Saturday, February 29. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.