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The Lakeland College women's basketball team fought back from a staggering second half deficit, pulling within six points late in the second half, but couldn't hold off a strong Falcon offense as Concordia Wisconsin defeated Lakeland 70-62 Tuesday night in Mequon, Wis.
The Muskies struggled on both sides of the court in the first half. Poor shooting and a strong Concordia defensive effort led to Lakeland (10-4, 5-2 NAC) shooting 32 percent in the first half and giving up 14 turnovers. On the other end, the Muskie defense had no answer for Concordia guard Asia Beckum in the first. Beckum put up 16 of her 17 points in the opening half as Concordia drove out to a 34-22 halftime lead.
"I was very disappointed in our first half play," Lakeland head coach Teri Johnson said. "We stood back and let Concordia dictate our offense. Their pressure pushed us out and limited our presence in the inside and we were not aggressive at all on offense or defense in the first half."
The second half appeared to be more of the same as Concordia (10-2, 8-0) bumped up its lead to 22 points with 14:12 remaining. With the Concordia advantage the same at 11:00 of the second, the Muskies began to chip away. Behind a stronger inside presence and more tenacity on defense, Lakeland knocked Concordia's lead down to six points at the three minute mark, but was unable to get any closer as the Falcons scored the next seven points in putting the game out of reach.
"In the second half we cleaned up what we were doing," Johnson said. "We were more aggressive and made a couple of defensive adjustments. Our intensity on the inside and on the boards improved, but losing confidence in the first half really hurt us. We can't struggle the way we did and expect to win against a team of this caliber."
Senior guard Kasey Gussert (Gladstone, Mich.) led the offensive charge, knocking down four 3-pointers on her way to scoring 16 points. Freshman center Autumn Gaylor (Ingleside, Ill.) continued her strong play, scoring all 13 of her points in the second half.
For Concordia, Krista Mayyou put up 18 points and was perfect from the line, sinking all 10 attempts in leading the Falcons.
Lakeland returns to action Saturday, January 17 in conference action against Aurora. Tip-off is slated for 2 p.m.