Finlandia falls short in tourney

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Finlandia University women’s basketball team rallied from a 19-point deficit in the second half to tie its game against Trinity University Friday afternoon, but ended up dropping a 68-67 decision in the Great South Athletic Conference tournament.

The Lions had a chance to send the game into overtime with one second left to play, but Paige Yoho missed the second shot of a 1-and-1 free throw chance.

“The girls battled hard, just as they have all season,” FU coach Terry Klemett said. “We really played well down the stretch … we just came up a little shy. But I’m proud of their effort.”

Finlandia’s chances in the game were dimmed by 26 percent shooting from the floor and the Lions were just 7-of-42 from beyond the arc.

“We didn’t shoot like we had been doing in the second half of the season,” Klemett noted. “But you have to give credit to them (Trinity) for that. They were quick and athletic and played good defense.”

After taking a quick 6-1 lead in the game, FU fell behind by a 30-26 margin at halftime as Ashley Brown sparked the Tigers.

When Trinity marched out a 64-45 lead with nine minutes to play, the issue seemed to be settled.

But junior center Marissa Burke, senior forward Hailey Gervais and sophomore guard Brierra Ruska sparked a 21-2 rally that knotted the game at 66-all.

Burke, the former Watersmeet High standout, collected a game-high 25 points. She also had 15 rebounds and seven steals. Ruska dumped in 21 points.

“Marissa Burke and Brierra (Ruska) played outstanding games,” Klemett said. “But everyone did their job.”

Gervais, the ex-Hancock High product, notched 14 points in her final game in a Lions uniform. Paige Yoho added five points and eight assists.

The Tigers, who are 15-9 on the season, were paced by Brown with 18 points. Shelby Swan and Jamilia Williams added 12 points each, while Blessing Hayes was good for 11 points and a game-leading 17 rebounds.

Finlandia, closing at 12-11, had an eight-game winning streak snapped.

“We’ll have everyone coming back except Hailey (Gervais) next season,” Klemett said. “We’ll start working toward next season.”