Albion scores another white-knuckle victory

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Albion reached the midpoint of its Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association schedule at 4-4 after holding on for a 76-73 victory over Saint Mary's.

The Britons last three games – all victories – have been decided by a total of six points.

Albion led 37-32 at halftime and it never trailed in the second half. The Britons extended the margin to 11 early in the second half as Oreyana Curry hit a pair of free throws and Erin Nelson and Darian Payne tacked on layups.

Saint Mary's answered by scoring the next eight points to whittle the margin to three, 43-40, with 16 minutes left.

Albion was clinging to a one-point lead when it went on an 11-2 run which ended with Payne's free throw that made the score 68-59 with 2:14 left.

Five missed free throws and a turnover by the Britons allowed Saint Mary's to mount a late rally. The Belles came within a point, 74-73, when Maddie Kohler made a three-point shot with two seconds left.

Curry, who finished with a season-high 18 points, knocked down a pair of free throws to finish the scoring.

Payne, who led all players with 22 points, pulled down 13 rebounds to complete her sixth double-double of the season. Nelson added 14 points and nine rebounds.

Five Saint Mary's players scored in double figures, led by Ariana Paul with 16.

Albion has a week to prepare for the start of the second round of MIAA play. The Britons travel to Olivet Jan. 24.