WBB: Riley's nine 3-pointers push Berg past Muskingum

Photo courtesy of Becca Radabaugh
Photo courtesy of Becca Radabaugh

TIFFIN -- Alyssa Riley's record-breaking performance was just what the doctor ordered for the Heidelberg University women's basketball team as the Student Princes ran past Muskingum University by a final score of 86-72.

Known for her sharp shooting ability, Riley led all scorers with a career-high 31 points on 10-of-17 shooting, including an incredible 9-for-14 from beyond the 3-point arc. With her nine 3-pointers, Alyssa Riley broke head coach, Morgan Harrigan's 12-year-old record for most 3-pointers in a single game. Harrigan set the program record of seven on December 21, 2007 at Bluffton University.

In addition to Riley's electric afternoon, Maddy Crawford chalked up her thirteenth double-double of the season with a 17-point, 11-rebound showing. Brooke Beamer also contributed heavily with her 18 points. Facilitating the offense was Aianna Wilson who matched her career-high with eight assists.

"It was really great to find the offensive rhythm and confidence this afternoon," said Coach Harrigan. "'Lyss [Alyssa Riley] breaking my record for most threes in a game gives me much more joy than breaking it myself."

A cold start saw the Student Princes (9-11, 5-8 OAC) in a 6-0 hole early on. A key substitution off the bench altered the flow of the early proceedings. Heidelberg flipped the script on the Muskies (1-20, 0-14) and embarked on 15-6 run to close the quarter with a three point lead.

Coming out of the quarter break, the Muskies looked for a way back into the game, eventually tying the score at 19 with 6:40 left to play. A Emily Yeager layup would but Muskingum back in front, but only for a few moments as Alyssa Riley began to take over the Berg offense. The senior buried a pair of free throws before connecting on back-to-back 3-pointers. The momentum built out a seven point lead for the Student Princes.

Both teams exchanged baskets across the next two plus minutes, before the Berg closed the first half on a six point stretch. Brittanie Ulmer and Riley went back-to-back from beyond the arc to enter the intermission with a stretch of momentum.

Across the first two quarters the Student Princes shared the ball well. Aianna Wilson picked up six of the team's 12 assists in the first half alone.

The Berg built out their largest lead of the game thus far at 53-40. Across the move, Heidelberg did the smart thing and found their hot hand. Alyssa Riley continued on her hot stretch from the floor and bucketed 10 points on four straight shots.

After the Muskies closed to within six, Brittanie Ulmer ensured the Student Princes would end the quarter with energy. The junior took a feed from Wilson and beat the buzzer from the corner on a deep 3-pointer, giving them the 64-55 lead heading to the fourth.  

Riley's dominant evening continued throughout the fourth quarter as the Berg removed all doubt on the scoreline in the dying moments of the game.

The senior hit the record-breaking trey with 4:37 remaining in the game, before creating some extra separation just one minute later with her ninth 3-pointer of the contest. As Riley dropped the record-breaking shot, Harrigan couldn't help but applaud the effort with a smile on her face, as the bench erupted with excitement.

Freshman Destiny Young capped the scoring with her first career basket in the final minute of the game on an assist by Hannah Kilps.

As a team, the Student Princes dished out a season-high 22 assists, led by Wilson's team-high eight.

Defensively, Heidelberg edged the opponent on rebounds with 39 opposed to Muskingum's 37. The Muskies did dominate the offensive glass with 18, while HU only managed 13.

The OAC-leader in blocked shots, Maddy Crawford, continued on her defensive prowess with two more blocks on Saturday.

"We shared the ball really well with a season-high 22 assist which correlated to us creating confident shots," continued Harrigan. "Overall I am proud of the team effort and team buy-in this afternoon."

The Student Princes will begin a busy week as they will play three key OAC matchups this week. Coming off short rest, Heidelberg will travel to University Heights on Monday to take on John Carroll University for a 7 p.m. start time. Later in the week, the Tricolor will host Capital University (Wednesday) and the University of Mount Union (Saturday).