Luke Rinne, Director of Athletic Communications
ROMEOVILLE – Freshman guard Taylor Gugliuzza’s (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way West) layup with 0:00.4 remaining proved to be the difference in Lewis’ 87-85 win over Missouri-St. Louis on Tuesday afternoon at Neil Carey Arena. With the win the Flyers improve to 4-3 overall and in the GLVC while the Tritons fall to 4-3 overall and in conference play.
After giving up the first basket of the game Lewis dominated the rest of the opening quarter building an 18-point advantage over UMSL. The Flyers shot 47 percent (9-for-19) from the floor and knocked down five three’s in the first 10 minutes. Lewis’ defense held the Tritons to just 29 percent shooting in the frame.
The Flyers opened the second quarter on a 13-6 run to build its largest lead of the game at 39-20 after Grace Hilber (Sun Prairie, Wis./Sun Prairie) made one of two foul shots. UMSL chipped away at the lead getting it down to 14 in the final minute but Gugliuzza gave Lewis a 16-point cushion heading into the locker room with two free throws in the closing seconds.
The third quarter went back-and-forth with the Flyers leading by as many as 18 in the stanza but a late run from UMSL cut Lewis’ lead to 65-54 by the end of the quarter.
The Tritons continued to fight their way back in the final frame eventually tying the game on a layup from Alex LaPorta with less than five seconds to play in the contest. After a timeout and advancement, the Flyers got the ball in the hands of Gugliuzza who drove down the right side of the lane, split two defenders and hit the game-winner with less than a second to play.
UMSL had one last chance but the inbounds pass was knocked away allowing the game clock to run out to secure the victory.
Gugliuzza and Kathryn Schmidt (Hampshire, Ill./Burlington Central)each finished with 19 points to lead Lewis while Grace Hilber (Sun Prairie, Wis./Sun Prairie) and Kae Barth-Lofton (St. Paul, Minn./Maranatha Christian Academy) added 14 points apiece. The 14 points were a career-high for Barth-Lofton. Hilber also had a team-high nine rebounds to go along with four assists and four steals.
The Flyers finished the game the shooting 51 percent (31-for-61) from the field, were 11-of-26 from beyond the arc and shot 78 percent at the foul line. They turned 21 Triton turnovers into 23 points and Lewis’ bench outscored UMSL’s bench 37-11.
LaPorta finished with a game-high 26 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Tritons. Kiara Stewart added 20 points, Danielle Berry finished with 15 points and Faye Meissner had 11 points. Stewart also added a double-double with her 13 rebounds.
The Tritons shot 43 percent (29-for-67) from the floor, were 6-of-19 from three and shot 64 percent at the foul line. They outrebounded the Flyers 44-28 including 21-7 on the offensive end resulting in 28 second chance points.
Lewis is back in action on Thursday as it travels to St. Louis, Mo., to take on the Saints of Maryville University at 5:15 p.m.