Comets downed by Stephens College, 64-54
A close contest was broken open in the second half Tuesday evening at Hinkhouse Center, as the Cottey Comets were defeated by visiting Stephens College, 64-54.
The result was a reversal from the teams' previous matchup Nov. 12 in Columbia, as the Comets bested Stephens, 63-50.
Cottey (7-12) has fallen on hard times of late, as the 10-point loss extends their losing skid to four.
Cottey's primary weakness was its interior defense, as Stephens College center Maddison Schaeffer detonated for a game-high 28 points, including several key buckets late in the contest.
The Comets trailed 23-14 at the conclusion of the opening frame, but trimmed the deficit to 32-30 at the half after outscoring the visitors 16-9 in the second.
The Comets came out red-hot to open the second half, as a 9-2 run, capped off by a Kelsey Acton bucket handed Cottey its largest lead of the game, at 39-34.
A Tatem Edeler offensive rebound and lay-in kept the Comets in front, 41-37 at the midpoint of the third. Stephens, however, close out the frame on an 11-0 blitz, for a 48-41 lead entering the fourth.
Cottey opened the fourth on a 6-1 spurt, punctuated by point guard Olivia Pruitt's traditional three-point play, and trailed 49-47 with 5:03 remaining in regulation.
From there Schaeffer took over, scoring at-will in the post, as Stephens stretched their advantage to 59-48 with 1:50 remaining.
The Comets didn't go quietly, as a Pruitt lay-in sliced Stephens' lead to 60-54. On the ensuing possession, with under a minute remaining, Cottey came up with a steal in the backcourt, and had a chance to trim the deficit to one possession, but Acton's 3-pointer was off the mark.
Pruitt tallied a team-high 17 points, while Acton chipped in 10.
The Comets shot 31 percent from the field for the contest, but were ice cold from long-range, connecting on just 3-of-21 3-point attempts, including 0-for-10 in the first half.
In their previous contest on Jan. 25, the Comets were edged by Crowley's Ridge College, 76-72 — in Paragould, Arkansas.
The Comets return to the hardwood Saturday for a 4 p.m. road-clash with Lincoln (Neb.) Christian College. They then follow-up on Super Bowl Sunday, with a 1 p.m. matchup against Lincoln College.