Kristian Eanes dropped 21 points but it wasn’t enough for Queens women’s basketball to overcome an aggressive interior attack from Lincoln Memorial University (LMU), falling 55-51 earlier today.
A valiant fourth quarter comeback brought a large deficit down to a single point with 24 seconds left, but a pair of turnovers clinched the loss for the Royals.
Eanes scored over half of the team’s then-39 points by the end of the third quarter. After that, LMU adjusted their defensive plan, shutting her out in the fourth.
“Overall I think I did what I was supposed to do in the game,” said Eanes. “I scored and got steals when my team needed me to.” She played physically, driving into the paint and drawing several fouls, unafraid of getting knocked to the floor.
Sharpshooter Tia McMillan chipped in offensively, draining four three-pointers on her way to 14 points. Though no other player scored more than four points, Eanes praised the team’s ability to attack the basket.
Overall, Queens shot 30% from the field, compared to LMU’s 41%. Lauren Flowers was particularly efficient for LMU, going 9 for 14, including three three-pointers. She led the team with 17 points.
Queens had nine assists versus LMU’s seven. However, they appeared to lack a third go-to scoring option. The team shot five for 21 outside of Eanes and McMillan.
The Royals faired well defensively. Moore led the way, helping the team force 21 turnovers. But when the Railsplitters were able to get a shot off, they crashed the boards with a tenacity the Royals were unable to counter, securing 10 offensive rebounds.
“We struggled with keeping them off the offensive boards and guarding the three early in the game,” said Moore.
Starting center Lauren Fields was injured, leaving the Royals without a true big on the interior. LMU guard Lexi Kiser capitalized, repeatedly sprinting in from the three-point line to snag a rebound right out from under Queens’ noses. She grabbed seven boards for the day. Overall, LMU outrebounded Queens 33 to 20.
Queens led 27-23 at halftime, but LMU surged back in the third, going up by seven to close out the quarter. The Royals made some changes after that. “We adjusted our defense to a zone, causing the LMU girls some trouble in the third and fourth quarter,” said Moore. The adjustment worked and Queens began chipping away at the Railsplitters’ lead.
With 25 seconds left in the game and LMU holding a 52-51 lead, Royals’ guard Taylor Stevens threw up a three but the shot bounced off the rim. Herning Wang reached up and secured the rebound, but stumbled backward and fell. Though she appeared to be pushed, a travel was called and possession went to LMU. Queens fouled and two free-throws later it was 54-51, Royals’ ball.
Unfortunately, with 13 seconds left, a dropped pass gave LMU possession again and forced another intentional foul. The game wound down 55-51.
Eanes wasn’t pointing fingers, saying there was no one moment that sealed the result. “It was an accumulation of plays throughout the game that we could’ve done better with.”
The Royals fell to a 4-16 record and have lost four straight. They sit second to last in the South Atlantic Conference (SAC) standings. LMU moved up to 7-11, two spots above Queens.
Queens and LMU have developed something of a rivalry over the past few years, fueled largely by the men’s basketball teams battling for first place in the SAC season after season. As such, Queens Athletics marketed this game more heavily than others, adopting #PR1DE on their social media and making the game a ‘white-out,’ complete with free t-shirts for the students.
Queens women’s basketball hosts Coker University next on Wednesday, February 5 at 5:30pm.
Image courtesy of Queens Athletics.