Heidelberg overcomes slow start to beat Muskingum

Heidelberg coach Morgan Harrigan doesn’t appear to differentiate between starters and bench players.

So on Saturday, when asked about the success of her bench — which scored 37 points in the Student Princes 69-63 win over Muskingum — the mentor had a ready answer.

“I think we have nine, 10 starters on our team, it doesn’t matter,” Harrigan said. “Whoever’s number is called that night, I love having people that can come in and bring a spark off the bench. They know, in my opinion, I don’t care who starts, it’s who goes in and brings us energy and makes a difference.”

One of the players who brought energy was Mariah Pearson, who came off the bench for eight points and nine rebounds in 16 minutes.

She helped HU overcome a slow start, which saw the Muskies build a 15-4 first quarter lead. Pearson had five rebounds in the first quarter alone, and the Princes rallied to trail 18-12 at the first stop.

“I just always try to hustle and get in there,” Pearson said. “I know I’m not a bad rebounder for the team, and when they’re not boxing me out, it makes it easy for me to go in there and get some rebounds.”

Heidelberg went on to dominate the second quarter, outscoring the Muskies 22-9. Key to the second quarter surge was Calvert graduate Kate Brickner, who hit two 3s and had eight points in the period.

“Once I make my first shot, I normally get a lot more confident,” said Brickner, who finished with 11 points. St. Joe graduate Cassidy Frank also had a pair of 3s in the second quarter. She finished with six points.

“There’s just something with this group that’s really clicking right now,” Harrigan said. “They’re having fun with each other, they’re confident in each other, and they know whoever’s able to go in is going to be able to get the job done.” The Student Princes led 34-27 at the half, and carried that momentum into the third quarter. They outscored the Muskies 22-13, and led 56-40 going to the fourth quarter.

Harrigan said Heidelberg was able to eventually get rolling. HU’s tempo on offense also helped, and that came with improved defense.

“Once they settled in, and we got out in transition, that’s what started to click for us,” she said. “We’re a team that likes to play fast, and we can’t do that unless we get a stop.”

Heidelberg was led offensively by Maggie Davault. After scoring 26 in Wednesday’s win over John Carroll, Davault scored 13 points to go with three rebounds and three assists.

Theresa Jackson had 12 points for the Student Princes to go with seven rebounds, while Carli Patrick had eight points and eight rebounds.

Muskingum rallied in the fourth quarter, as Heidelberg managed no field goals in the final 5:18, and a 19-point lead shrunk to four in the final seconds.

But Heidelberg held on for its third straight win and fourth in five games. It improved to 6-7, 3-3 in the Ohio Athletic Conference.

Muskingum dropped to 8-5, 4-2 in the OAC. Dana Parkman had 13 points for the Muskies.