TIFFIN – A hot start and a strong finish lifted the Heidelberg University women's basketball team to a season-opening 82-68 victory over Earlham College on Monday. Four Student Princes reached double-figures in scoring, highlighted by a double-double from senior Marisa Liburdi.
Playing for the first time under the new NCAA four-period format, the Student Princes (1-0) led 30-12 after the first quarter. The Quakers (0-1) jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead before the Tricolor went on a 24-3 run to break the game open. Theresa Jackson scored all nine of her points in the opening 10 minutes.
Heidelberg pumped their lead to as many as 23 in the second quarter, which was highlighted by in-rhythm 3-pointers by Abrecht and freshman point guard Aianna Wilson. In the final seconds of the half, Shelby Dearth blocked a 3-point attempt by Earlham's Lexi McFarland. Heidelberg led 46-27 at intermission.
To start the third quarter, the Quakers embarked on an 8-2 run with a pair of 3-pointers and a mid-range jumper. The Student Princes countered with a jumper from Patrick and a 3-pointer from Abrecht. As Earlham cut the HU lead to 10 with less than two minutes in the period, Murphy converted a three-point play. Heidelberg led 64-49.
Dearth hit a 3-pointer with 8:43 remaining, giving Heidelberg a 67-51 cushion. The Tricolor, however, would remain at 67 while the Quakers went on a 9-0 run. Clinging to a 67-60 advantage, Kate Brickner hit a key off-balance 16-foot jumper late in the shot clock to end the slide. EC would cut the lead back to seven with a Kasin Spay jumper. The Student Princes scored the next eight points – a Murphy 3, a Patrick layup and an Abrecht 3 – to put the game out of reach.
"We had players step up and hit big shots," said Heidelberg head coach Morgan Shriver, in her third season. "Jackie [Abrecht] came back and had four 3-pointers for us. She has been shooting well in practice and it was great to see it translate into the game."
For Earlham, Spay led all scorers with 22 points.
Ten different Student Princes scored points in the win. Heidelberg shot 44.4% from the floor and 57.1% from long-range.
Heidelberg travels to Manhattan this weekend for a two-game set at New York University. Heidelberg faces Springfield College on Saturday and MIT on Sunday. Both games start at 2 p.m.