Dec. 2—The East Central University women's basketball team trailed by two points early in the fourth quarter, but the Tigers' second-half comeback came up short in a 74-58 loss to Northwestern in the Great American Conference opener for both teams Thursday night in Ada.
Despite the loss, the evening ended as a special one for senior guard Mackenzie Crusoe who surpassed her 1,000th career point as a Tiger, making her the 15th member in program history to achieve such a feat.
"I am very proud of Kenzie," said ECU women's head coach Heather Hurt. "Scoring 1,000 points is not easy. She gives great effort and does so many things right and that is why she surpassed 1,000 points tonight."
Crusoe and Jayden Weiberg combined for 39 points in the defeat as ECU fell to 3-1 overall and 0-1 in GAC play. Northwestern stayed unbeaten at 7-0 overall and starts conference play at 1-0.
Although the Tigers drilled 12 3-pointers and had their best shooting percentage in the fourth quarter, Northwestern maintained control, with their lead proving to be insurmountable.
"We could never get into the flow on the offensive end," said Hurt. "Northwestern's pressure in their zone caused us a lot of problems. When we scored, we could not get stops on the defensive end."
It was a 3-point basket by Tatum Havens that got the Tigers within 46-44 with 7:44 remaining in the game but ECU couldn't get over the hump.
Weiberg — a sophomore from Madill High School — had a standout performance, recording a team-high and career-high 22 points by knocking down seven triples. Meanwhile, Crusoe contributed significantly on both ends of the court, securing 17 points while registering a team-high and career-high 14 rebounds.
Northwestern had a big advantage from the free-throw line, knocking down 18-of-23 attempts compared to a 6-of-10 showing by the Tigers.
Faith Simpson paced the NWOSU offense with 23 points to go with eight rebounds. Carly Craig sank four 3-point baskets and scored 18 points, while Camille Thomas registered a double-double for the visitors with 13 points and 14 rebounds.
The ECU women's basketball team will return to the Kerr Activities Center at 1 p.m. today, hosting Southern Nazarene University.
Note: Ada News Sports Editor Jeff Cali contributed to this report.