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Messiah Loses Lead, Unable To Fight Back In Loss To St. Vincent
Messiah's Dori Gyori collected a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds) in the Falcons' win Friday night.

By Bryn Swartz, GoMessiah.com reporter
Grantham, PA – The Messiah Falcons lost to visiting St. Vincent College 67-62 in the championship game of the Hampton Inn Tip-Off Classic, their first loss of the 2011-2012 season. The game featured a battle of two top 25 teams: the 22nd ranked Falcons against 24th ranked St. Vincent.

Despite taking a quick 16-8 lead in the first half, and a 37-31 halftime lead, the Falcons allowed St. Vincent to claw back.

Scoring 11 consecutive points to begin the second half, the Bearcats' took a lead that they would hold the rest of the way.

"We really fought hard," said Messiah's head coach Mike Miller. "I'm disappointed with the outcome. We just weren't as efficient on offense and turnovers were a big problem."

Miller was forced to adjust his starting lineup after an unexpected injury to sophomore shooting guard Taylor Miller, who took a hard fall in Friday's victory over John Jay College. The Falcons are also playing without guard/forward Katlyn Vanderhoff, a transfer from Division I Maine University.

"With the people we had on the court tonight, we could have gotten it done, and we didn't," Miller said. "Hopefully the people we played with tonight can learn from our mistakes."

Despite playing without two of their five starters, the Falcons still took a 16-8 lead at the start, highlighted by a pair of three pointers from sophomore Chelsea Danel. But St. Vincent rallied, following the lead of senior forward Brittany Sedlock who, along with being named Tournament MVP, collected her 1,000th career point in the win. Like they would in the second half, the Bearcats' scored 11 straight to take a 19-16 lead.

Undeterred at this point, the Falcons rallied back and scored the final six of the half to take a 37-31 lead into halftime.

In the second half, St. Vincent ran off their game-changing rally to take the lead.

The Falcons pulled within two a couple of times in the final frame, but couldn't regain the lead or tie the score. The already injury-depleted Falcons suffered another big blow when junior Dori Gyori fouled out late in the second half.

Over the final five minutes of the game, the Falcons scored just two baskets- that last one at the buzzer by junior forward Kira Maier to set the final score.

The Falcons' 67-62 loss dropped them to 2-1 on the season, and gave St. Vincent the championship in the Hampton Inn Tip-Off Classic.

Maier was the Falcons' leading scorer on the night, collecting 20 points (14 in the first half) on 6-of-13 shooting from the field and 8-of-8 from the line. She also grabbed 11 rebounds.

Danel finished with 12 points and four assists, while Gyori collected 11 points and five rebounds, despite fouling out. Junior Nicky Hess topped the team by playing 37 minutes. She scored nine points and dished out four assists.

The Falcons, 2-1, have a week to rest before their fourth game of the season. They host Penn State University of Harrisburg on Saturday, November 26, at 3:00 p.m.