By BLAKE TOPPMEYER
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
Hannah Weedman doesn't want the players on the Quincy University women's basketball team to forget how they felt after their 71-57 Great Lakes Valley Conference loss Thursday to Missouri-St. Louis.
For the third straight game, an opponent came onto the Pepsi Arena floor and beat the Lady Hawks. This time, it came in QU's regular-season home finale.
"You just take away how you how feel after," said Weedman, QU's junior center. "We've gone three home-court losses (in a row). This was our last home game.
"We don't want this ever again. It's the end of the season. There's two more (regular-season) games. It's win or die."
The Lady Hawks led Maryville by two games entering play last week, but Maryville won 66-50 at Illinois-Springfield on Thursday and now shares the West's top spot with QU. Missouri S&T is a half-game behind, and UMSL (15-9, 10-6) is one game behind the leaders.
QU (13-11, 11-5) plays at Maryville (15-9, 11-5) at 1 p.m. Saturday.
"I don't think we peaked too soon," said QU coach Jeni Garber, whose team had won 12 of 14 games prior to this three-game skid. "We just need to get back at it and ... play the type of basketball that we were playing earlier. I think we can start playing well again."
QU will need to start by solidifying its defense.
UMSL led 27-19 at halftime and sealed the win by shooting 63.2 percent from the field in the second half. The Tritons made 6 of 10 3-point attempts after halftime and 7 of 13 (53.8 percent) for the game.
This came from a team that entered the contest 12th in the GLVC in 3-point shooting at 31.3 percent.
"We left them open, and they hit some big shots," Garber said. "We'd (rally) back, and they'd always hit a big shot. That's a back-breaker for us, and for any team. We got back in the game, and then they hit a 3-pointer. And then we'd get back in the game, and they'd hit another 3-pointer."
UMSL sophomore point guard Kelly McGovern, a transfer from Division I Fordham, drained several second-half daggers. She went 4 of 4 from 3-point range overall, scored a career-high 24 points and added five rebounds and four assists.
QU's Maggie Cunningham made a pair of free throws with 13 minutes, 33 seconds remaining in the second half to cut the Lady Hawks' deficit to 39-33. McGovern responded by making a 3-pointer with 12:36 to play to push UMSL's lead to 42-33.
QU later went on an 8-2 run, capped by Weedman's bucket in the paint with 5:29 remaining to cut UMSL's edge to 49-44.
UMSL responded with a pair of treys from McGovern sandwiched around a two-point basket by Devonna Smith to stretch its lead to 57-44. Quincy never again cut its deficit to single digits.
McGovern came into the contest as a 25.5 percent 3-point shooter and having made just 13 3-pointers all season.
UMSL coach Katie Vaughn said McGovern is at her best when she doesn't overthink things on the court and just competes.
"These last couple games and practices, we've just (told McGovern), ‘Quit worrying about everything and just play,'" said Vaughn, whose Tritons snapped a 13-game losing streak to QU. "So clearly tonight, she just played. And when she just plays, she's pretty darn good."
Quincy shot only 28 percent from the field in the first half but found more offensive success after halftime by utilizing a high-low offense to find Weedman around the basket.
Weedman scored a team-high 18 points -- 14 points came in the second half -- and made 9 of 13 field-goal attempts.
"We found success because we actually started to space them out," said Weedman, who also had seven rebounds. "They couldn't get the double team inside. I had my seals good and was getting the open passes."
Quincy's Kelly Buresh went 3 of 6 from 3-point range and scored 11 points, and Lucy Cramsey added 10 points.
UMSL went 20 of 22 from the free-throw line despite coming into the contest ranked 15th in the GLVC from the charity stripe at 65.9 percent.