TIFFIN -- Surrounded by teammates, senior Theresa Jackson sat on the Seiberling Gymnasium hardwood. Elbows on her knees, Jackson's shoulders sank forward -- a look of exasperation and exhaustion. With the Heidelberg University women's basketball team down four in the closing seconds, Jackson heaved a 3-pointer and tried her best to draw contact from the close-out defender. As she fell to the floor, the ball rattled in -- with no whistle.
Down 10 with 3:51 left, the Student Princes feverishly tried to rally on Senior Day, but fell one point short in an 84-83 loss to Mount Union on Saturday.
"Our girls did not want to lose, but it was just a little too late," said head coach Morgan Harrigan.
Jackson had a game-high 22 points for Heidelberg, which sank to 8-15 overall, 5-11 in the Ohio Athletic Conference. Marisa Liburdi added 18 points and Maggie Davault had 13 points. Brittanie Ulmer was the fourth Student Prince in double figures, finishing with 11. Carli Patrick had eight points and nine rebounds.
The Student Princes were on the wrong side of the scoreboard for much of the game, but did not allow the Purple Raiders (12-11, 7-9 OAC) to push out to a comfortable lead. The contest was tied after the first and MTU was up two at halftime. A 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer by Anna Alkire gave the visitors a 63-56 lead.
The final HU surge was ignited by a three-point play by Jackson with 2:46 left. The hoop-and-harm narrowed the Mount lead to 80-73. The Tricolor got to within three on a Jackson jumper with 22 seconds left, but foul shots by Abbey Bartoszewicz helped the Purple Raiders regain momentum.
Jackson's last 3-pointer came after two offensive rebounds in the final 10 seconds. But in the end the eight Heidelberg seniors said farewell to Sayger Court in defeat.
"We can't come back with a minute left in the game when we're down eight," said Harrigan.
On the afternoon, free throws were anything but free. Both teams struggled at the line -- Heidelberg was 21-of-35 (60%) and Mount Union was 13-25 (52.0%).
"Mentally, we had some lapses and we knew it would be a very emotional day," said Harrigan.
With two games left in the regular season, Heidelberg is still fighting for one of eight spots in next week's OAC Tournament. The Berg will travel to John Carroll (6-17, 4-12) on Wednesday. Game time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.