SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Despite a furious second-half rally, the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology women's basketball team was unable to overcome a 10-point halftime deficit in a 74-69 road loss to Robert Morris-Springfield Friday.
Rose-Hulman dropped to 3-7 on the season, while USSCA-member Robert Morris-Springfield improved to 8-5.
Freshman Kristen Belyea (Mahomet, Ill./Mahomet Seymour) scored a team-high 17 points on a perfect 4-for-4 showing from the 3-point line and senior Kelsey Ploof (Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville) added 13 points (6-of-8 from the field) to lead the Engineers in the loss. Freshman Abbie Marshall (St. Louis, Mo./Nerinx Hall) added 10 points to round out RHIT players in double figures.
Down 12 points (53-41) with 13 minutes to play in the second half, the Engineers used an 11-0 run to put themselves back in the game in the final minutes. Sophomore Carrie Morris (Altadena, Calif./Mayfield) kickstarted the run with a 3-pointer and Marshall followed with two straight jumpers.
After a RMU-Springfield turnover, freshman Jamie Loving (Normal, Ill./Normal West) sunk a layup to cut the lead to three, 53-50, and force a Eagles timeout. The Engineers would add one more bucket out of the timeout, as senior Lauren Meadows (Indianapolis, Ind./Brebeuf) finished a spin move to the rim to bring Rose-Hulman to within one (53-52) with 8:40 remaining.
Robert Morris-Springfield responded to the run to bring the lead back to eight (62-54), capped by Laci Porter triple with 5:40 to play.
The teams traded buckets down the stretch, as the closest the Engineers would get was five points before RMU-Springfield closed out the game with two Brandi Bradley free throws.
Cassandra Baker led the Eagles with a game-high 25 points on 11-of-18 shooting and teammate Stephanie House added 10 points.
For RHIT, Morris chipped in nine points on 4-of-8 shooting and Meadows added eight (3 for 5 from the field) for RHIT, which won the rebounding battle, 32-19.
Marshall added three assists and freshman Josie Schmidt (Eighty Four, Pa./Ringgold) pulled down a team-best six rebounds.
The Engineers shot 61.5 percent for the game compared to 66.7 percent for Robert Morris-Springfield.
Rose-Hulman will return to Hulbert Arena for a home Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference matchup with Bluffton on Saturday, Jan. 4. Tip off is slated for 1 p.m.