Thursday, December 22nd, 2011 - 11:43 pm

Purdue Calumet Falls to St. Francis at the Buzzer

HAMMOND, Ind. – The Purdue University Calumet women’s basketball team saw its three-game winning streak come to an end, as St. Francis (Ind.), who is receiving votes in the NAIA Div. II Coaches’ Poll, scored the go-ahead bucket with eight seconds left to claim a 68-66 victory on Thursday night. The Peregrines slid to 11-5 overall, as they faced a nationally-recognized team for the 10th time this season.

Purdue Calumet got off to a sluggish start in the opening half, as they connected on just 25.7 percent of their shots en route to a 37-28 deficit at the break. However, the Black and Gold would come to life in the second half, behind the scoring of Stephaine Beck.

The 5-foot-7 senior poured in 16 of her game-high 24 points in the final stanza, capping off a 16-5 run to open the period with one of her four treys in the contest. The two teams battled back and forth over the next six minutes, as the lead changed hands 11 times during that span.

 PUC grabbed a three-point advantage, 66-63, on another trifecta from Beck with 2:35 left and looked to expand on that lead after Amanda Gaskin pulled down one of her career-high 19 rebounds. However, the Peregrines would fail to convert on both of its attempts from the charity stripe during the ensuing possession, opening the door for St. Francis to tie the game at 66 on Amanda Pedro’s three-pointer from the corner. Purdue Calumet turned the ball over with 35 seconds remaining, setting the stage for Pedro’s game-winning jumper.

The Black and Gold shot just 30.4 percent from the field in the contest, after connecting on 35.3 percent of its shots in the second half. They were able to stay in the game thanks to a 16-point advantage at the free throw line and 15 points off second-chance opportunities.

Beck added a career-high eight rebounds to go along with her 24 points, while Alex Starr joined her in double-figures with 15 markers on the night. Gaskin missed a double-double by one point, finishing with nine points and 19 caroms with nine of those rebounds coming via the offensive glass. Brooklyn Short tallied eight points and a career-high 11 assists in the contest.

PUC will be back in action next Thursday, December 29, when it faces Cumberland University on the opening day of the Rosa Stokes Classic in Lebanon, Tenn. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST.