ANDERSON — The Anderson University women's basketball team has already won more games than it did the last two years combined. The Ravens have done this largely through an injection of youthful talent that has Anderson hovering around the .500 mark.
But the mistakes that often accompany young and talented basketball players reared their ugly head Saturday morning in a 77-68 loss to Mount St. Joseph.
It was the third straight loss for AU (8-9), which also dropped to 4-6 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference and the third consecutive win for the Lions, who improved to 11-6 overall and 6-4 in the HCAC.
Early, the Ravens were in control.
They built a five-point first-quarter lead on a 7-0 run capped by a baseline jumper by freshman Hanna Ault for a 13-8 lead. The Lions pulled back within one late in the period, but freshman Kristin Dubois beat the buzzer with a running jumper and junior Tatum Minier added a pair of free throws to open the second quarter for a 20-15 advantage.
But, beginning with the next AU possession, the wheels started to come off. The Ravens turned the ball over on their next six possessions and a total of 10 times in the second quarter. The Mount St. Joseph dynamic backcourt duo of sophomores Alehia Tucker and Maddie Haberthy made the Ravens pay. The Lions went on a 15-2 run which only ended on a lane jumper by another Anderson freshman, Payton Moore, to send the game to the locker room with the Lions leading 38-31.
"The turnovers are two-fold for us," Anderson coach Lindsay Shade said. "With our youth, we allow the turnovers to have more weight than they should, and we get down on ourselves. And, when we get down, I don't think we have the same purpose and discipline defensively."
That proved true as Tucker, who led all players with 26 points, and Haberthy repeatedly drove past their defenders for easy baskets or converted steals into transition layups. Haberthy scored 21 for the Lions.
"That's an area of growth that we're working towards," Shade said. "(Turnovers) were a huge factor today. It's that snowball effect of one mistake leading to two or three or four. We went through a stretch where we didn't make shots, but we maintained our defensive intensity. But the missed shots and turnovers were different stories."
Twice, Ault pulled the Ravens within four during the third quarter on another baseline jumper and later on a 3-point basket to make the deficit 47-43.
However, the Lions responded with a 14-5 run into the fourth quarter, with Tucker and Haberthy scoring 11 of those points, to rebuild a double-digit lead. The Ravens were only able to close to within six the rest of the way.
For the game, the Ravens outrebounded the Lions 41-33 but committed 21 turnovers to just eight by Mount St. Joseph. The majority of those turnovers were the result of bad decisions, not due to defensive pressure.
"We've been struggling with teams that have pressed us, but I felt like we handled it well," Shade said. "Now, our turnovers were too high, but it wasn't a result of the press. It was decision making and not seeing the secondary defender."
Freshman Lexi Dellinger led the Ravens with 16 points, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range while junior Hannah Hawkins added 14 points and Moore scored 12. Ault finished with nine points and six assists, and Dubois scored eight with five assists.
The Ravens are at Franklin for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff Wednesday.