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Mastodons, guard end cold spells with victory

– Without question, they were in a slump, this team and its starting guard; both in dire need of some holiday cheer.

The IPFW women’s basketball team faced Rochester on Saturday on a five-game December losing streak.

And its 5-foot-10 junior, Stefanie Mauk, was consumed with her own individual nosedive. Over her last four games, she couldn’t have bought a bucket with a gift card and student ID, going 4 of 17 from the floor for 13 points.

But all that was swept beneath the floor at the Gates Center, where Mauk had the game of her career and IPFW shook off troublesome Rochester, 71-59.

Mauk, who was 7 of 13 from the floor, including 5 of 9 from three-point range, had career highs of 20 points and 15 rebounds. Additionally, she had two blocked shots, an assist and played 35 minutes without a turnover.

“I haven’t been playing too well but practicing really well, so I finally got it to click in a game, and we won,” said Mauk, who had 13 points at halftime.

It was a pair of three-pointers from Mauk to start the second half that helped the Mastodons (4-8) get out to a 46-33 lead on the NAIA opponent from Rochester Hills, Mich. But the visiting Warriors (6-9) caught IPFW at 54-all with 8:14 still remaining.

The five-game IPFW skid was teetering on becoming six.

But sophomore reserve Mur Hagerman rolled in a free throw with 7:46 left and buried a three-pointer from the top of the key with 6:35 to go. Then it was Amanda Hyde’s turn. The junior, who added 15 points, knocked down a pull-up jumper a step inside the free throw line with 6:01 left and dropped a pair of free throws with 5:41 remaining to send the Mastodons back into a more relaxed 62-54 lead.

“(Mauk) and the rest of them really buckled down and took some pride to get some stops there late,” IPFW coach Chris Paul said.

It was end of the skid as IPFW begins its Summit League schedule at home Friday against IUPUI.

“I really can’t put into words how important it was,” Paul said of ending the losing streak. “… If we would have lost our last home game against a team on paper you were supposed to win, and then you go into three days of break; when you’ve got nine freshmen and sophomores; … they’re a little fragile. It was very, very important to answer and find a way to dig deep and get a win here.”

stwarden@jg.net

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