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2:00 PM
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Mary Baldwin
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Fighting Squirrels Surge Past Spirits with Strong Second Half

(Photo credit, Dave Hilbert, d3photography.com)
(Photo credit, Dave Hilbert, d3photography.com)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Demet Saygili recorded a game-high 24 points as the Mary Baldwin University women's basketball team prevailed in a 77-56 contest at Salem in USA South action on Sunday afternoon.

With the win, the Fighting Squirrels pull back to even on the season at 6-6 and 2-3 in league play. Meanwhile, the Spirits drop to 0-12 overall and 0-5 in conference games.

In addition to recording 24 points on 10-22 shooting from the floor, Saygili finished the day with eight assists, seven steals and six rebounds (four offensive) in 36 minutes on the floor. The 24-point performance is her season high and first 20-point game of the year. It also marks Saygili's third game with 20 or more points in her career, including a 44 point game in the USA South Tournament last season.

Behind Saygili, Brooke Anders finished 6-of-12 from the floor, including four three-pointers, to record 16 points. She also pulled down four rebounds, tallied a pair of assists, five steals and a block in 35 minutes.

Nicole Mallon registered 10 points to go with eight rebounds and two steals, while Codie Heilig recorded 13 points, six rebounds and two steals in 13 minutes off the bench. Cauy Duboise led the team 12 rebounds (four offensive) and finished with eight points and four assists.

The Spirits recorded the first seven points of the contest before Duboise put the Fighting Squirrels on the board with 7:04 left in the first quarter. A layup and a three from Anders sandwiched an SC jumper to set the score at 9-7 in favor of the home team before three straight scores by means of free throws made the score 11-10. Saygili hit a jumper with 2:54 showing on the clock to give MBU its first lead of the contest. Duboise hit on a pair of free throws to push the lead to 13-11, which held to the end of the period.

In the second quarter, the Spirits score in the first five seconds to cut the deficit to just one point, 14-13, but the Fighting Squirrels rattled off a 12-3 run over three minutes to extend their lead to 10 points with 6:40 left in the half. SC worked the score down to 28-24 in favor of MBU before an Anders' three followed by a Mallon layup pushed the lead back to nine points with two minutes left in the half. Salem recorded the last three baskets of the half to take a two-point deficit into the break.

A 9-2 run from Mary Baldwin opened the second half as MBU extended its lead to 42-34 after a three from Heilig with five minutes left in the third quarter. The next five points went to the Spirits before Anders hit one of her four three-pointers on the day, 45-39. Two quick layups and a pair of free throws made the score 51-39 and another layup from Saygili with 30 seconds left in the third made the score 53-39 entering the final period. In total, the Fighting Squirrels outscored the Spirits 20-8 in the quarter, holding Salem to just three field goals and causing 10 turnovers in the period.

MBU shot nearly 40 percent from the floor in the fourth quarter, as Saygili was 5-for-7 from the field, tallying 12 points in just six minutes. The Fighting Squirrels led by as many as 27 points in the fourth and went on to a 77-56 win.

In total, MBU shot 33.0 percent (30-91) from the field and hit on seven three-pointers. In comparison, the Spirits finished at a 34.3 percent (23-67) clip. Both sides finished with 55 rebounds, but MBU took advantage of nearly 40 points off of 30 turnovers and pulled down 24 offensive rebounds that resulted in 22 second chance points compared to just six from Salem.

Mary Baldwin returns to action on Wednesday, Jan. 8, at home against St. Mary's (Md.). The game is rescheduled from the postponed contest from earlier this season and will tip off at 6 pm in the PAC.