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BELOIT---A 3-point play converted by senior guard Kasey Gussert with seven seconds remaining pushed the Lakeland College women's basketball team to a 55-52 non-conference victory Saturday afternoon over Beloit College.
Gussert (Kingsford, Mich.) scored 19 points in the second half on 7-of-9 shooting after making only one shot in the first half, finishing the day with a game-high 22 points. Her jumper followed by a successful free-throw attempt to give the Muskies a three point lead proved to be enough as Beloit missed a 3-pointer as time expired.
"There's almost no way to describe how Kasey played," Lakeland head coach Teri Johnson said. "She was in the zone in the second half. She started getting good, wide open looks and wasn't forcing her shot.
Leading 27-16 at halftime, Beloit extended its advantage to 15 points as the Buccaneers rode a 10-0 scoring run until the Muskies scored their first points of the second half at the 15 minute mark. Lakeland knocked the deficit down over the next nine minutes to take its first lead since 14:11 of the first half. Unable to take the lead above three points, both teams traded field goals in the final minutes before Gussert scored the final points of the game.
The Muskies started the day cold, making only six field goals on 27 attempts (22 percent), but rebounded in the second half to knock down 16-of-30 attempts from the floor (53 percent).
"Our bench allowed us to come back," said Johnson. "Hannah Landgraf, Erin Cepa, Sarah Schroeder, the spark they gave us on the defensive side gave us the chance to come back. We took much better care of the ball after halftime (one turnover in the final 13 minutes), and that combined with the extra looks we got really helped."
Junior forward KC Blahnik (Gladstone, Mich.) was the other only Muskie to score in double figures, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
Beloit had a sizeable advantage on the boards, grabbing 41 to the Muskies' 31. The Muskies countered by forcing 21 Beloit turnovers.
Christine Brown scored 15 points and nabbed 11 rebounds, leading the Bucs in both categories.
The victory was Lakeland's seventh in eight games against Beloit.
Lakeland (9-3, 4-1 NAC) returns to conference play next Saturday as the Muskies travel to Milwaukee to face Alverno. Tip-off is slated for 2 p.m.