WILMINGTON, Ohio – The remarkable 2013-14 season for the Heidelberg University women's basketball team came to an end with a 57-51 loss at Wilmington College on Monday.
Monday's loss in the opening round of the OAC Tournament pushed Heidelberg's final record to 12-14 under first-year head coach Morgan Shriver. The 12 victories are the most since 2006-07. Shriver's squad advanced to the tournament for the first time since 2009.
The Tricolor entered the game looking to end two massive dry spells. The Student Princes' last postseason win came in 2004 and their last victory over Wilmington was in 2001.
But despite holding a slight edge at halftime, a scoring drought in the second half doomed the Student Princes. An 18-4 run by Wilmington (13-13) put the Quakers up 49-39 with 6:56 remaining.
"We couldn't overcome scoring woes in the second half and had some critical turnovers that led to easy baskets," said Shriver, a member of the 12-win 06-07 squad. "I was proud of our defense and how we battled back when we got down ten."
Down four with less than three minutes left, two-time OAC scoring champion Kathleen Phillips was called for a charge on a drive to the basket. The foul was one of 23 whistles against Heidelberg, compared to 12 against Wilmington.
"Sending them to the free throw line 31 times while only getting to shoot 10 was a major factor in the game," said Shriver.
The offensive foul was part of another cold streak for the 'Berg offense. In the last 4:23, the only Heidelberg points came on a layup by Paige Ricketts as time expired.
Miller was the only Student Prince to hit double figures. The senior had 11 points in her final game. Classmates Phillips and Molly Schriber each had nine, as did Allie Hawkins and Ricketts.
Phillips' career ends with 1,755 points, third-most in Heidelberg history.
Ricketts grabbed 10 rebounds and Carli Patrick notched eight.
"I'm proud of our fight," said Shriver. "We will let this loss hunger our desire to improve in the offseason."
When she was hired last May, Shriver inherited a program that had gone 12-64 in the past three seasons. Shriver cobbled together a strong incoming class and sought to change the culture in the locker room.
And by all accounts, she succeeded.
Now, with a full year to recruit and a taste of success on the court, the Shriver-led Student Princes are poised for continued growth.
"We will come back stronger next season," Shriver concluded.