MARYVILLE, Tenn. -- The Covenant women's basketball team's comeback at Maryville fell just short in an 81-77 loss on Wednesday evening inside Boydson H. Baird Gymnasium.
Covenant (8-15, 6-9 USA South) cut its deficit to two after trailing by as many as 23 in the third quarter with a Hannah Monday putback with 42 seconds remaining. Klaire Varney got a key offensive rebound for the hosts and held off Covenant with two free throws for the win.
Joanna Smith recorded the 28th double-double of her career and led all players with 24 points and 14 rebounds to go along with two blocks. Monday came off the bench and recorded 18 points to go with six rebounds on 8-of-10 shooting. Bekah Walter scored 14 points while Taylor Robinson rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10. Margo Koby recorded nine rebounds and Kaley Hallmark pulled down eight boards. Hallmark and Taylor Robinson had three steals each.
Covenant scored the first points of the game on a Walter layup before Maryville responded going on a 15-2 run that lasted just over four minutes. The northern Scots were able to extend the lead to 16 at the end of the first period and took a comfortable 20-point lead into the locker room at the half.
Covenant came out on all cylinders and started the second half on a six-point run to cut the margin to 14. Maryville (12-12, 10-5 USA South) responded slowly extending the lead to 23 with 4:35 left in the third on a Brooke McCurdy bucket. Covenant was able to end the quarter on a five-point spree and trim its deficit to 17.
The fourth quarter was all Covenant as it outscored the hosts 24-11 in the final period. Covenant began to chip away at the deficit getting it down to 12 on an Abi Chatham free throw with 4:53 left to play. Varney scored a basket on the next possession before a Smith layup jumpstarted a 12-0 run for Covenant allowing the visiting Scots to cut the lead to two before Maryville was able to hold on for the 81-77 victory.
Maryville was paced by Varney who recorded a team-high 23 points and nine rebounds. Libby Gardner was right on her heels with 20 points, while Kelley Wandell recorded 13 and Shelby Hix threw in 11. Wandell pulled down eight rebounds and recorded three blocks. Varney was also able to record six assists.
Covenant shot 29-for-72 (40.3 percent) from the floor but went a cold 16.7 percent (3-of-18) from behind the 3-point line. The guests were able to go 16-of-22 (72.7 percent) from the charity stripe. Covenant squad won the battle of the glass, 48-31, behind a balanced 24 offensive and defensive rebounds.
Maryville shot 46.4 percent (26-for-56) overall and 9-of-20 (45 percent) from distance. The northern Scots went 71.4 percent (20-of-28) from the free-throw line.
Covenant takes a step out of conference play and hosts Toccoa Falls on Thursday at 6 p.m. inside Barnes PE Center.
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