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The Lakeland College women's basketball team opened its Northern Athletics Conference schedule with a loss to Edgewood College, 59-43, on Thursday, Nov. 29, at Lakeland.
Although the Eagles (3-2, 1-0 NAC) had a low scoring output in the first half, so did the Muskies (2-2, 0-1 NAC), as the home squad shot a discouraging 26 percent from the floor to trail, 22-17, at intermission.
Lakeland was able to put a few more points on the board in the second half, but still shot just 26 percent for the game. Edgewood, on the other hand, shot an improved 52 percent in the second half and took advantage of a lopsided 47-21 rebounding advantage to earn second chances at the basket, grabbing 11 offensive boards to the Muskies' four.
"We didn't set the tempo right away, which is something we have an issue with," said Lakeland head coach Teri Johnson. "Sometimes it's going to be very difficult for us to wait and feel a team out and expect to come back. Rebounding killed us too."
Lakeland was able to put together a scoring run in the second half, cutting Edgewood's lead to six with 7:39 remaining on a jumper by sophomore guard Megan Chart to make the score 41-35. Despite a hearty defensive scramble by the Muskies, the Eagles maintained control of the game and rebuilt their lead in the waning minutes.
"We can't wait until the last seven minutes of the game, which is what we did because we stepped it up at that point," Johnson said. "We can't wait that long to start picking up our intensity, especially on defense. Our defense was not the defense I have seen in the last three games."
Lakeland also couldn't find an answer to the Eagles' Megan Scheele, who scored a game-high 28 points, 17 of which came in the second half.
"I felt like it wasn't us out there, and we didn't take our shots," Johnson said. "I believe that we wanted it, and maybe we were a little fatigued from Tuesday night, but that shouldn't be an excuse. I want us to learn from this, keep our heads up and stick together as a team."
Sophomore guard KC Blahnik and Chart led the Muskies in scoring with 17 and 10 points, respectively. Blahnik also knocked down a solid seven of her eight attempts from the free throw line, and led the team on the glass with five rebounds.
"I thought KC Blahnik and Megan Chart did a good job of plugging away, and they took the team on their shoulders," Johnson said.
The Muskies will continue NAC play with a tough Concordia University, Wis., squad on Saturday, Dec. 1.
"We have to fix things," Johnson said. "Every team is going to bring their 'A' game against us, and we have to do the same no matter who we are playing, especially in this conference."
Game time with Concordia is set for 2 p.m. in Mequon, Wis.