A 30-second sequence at the end of the third quarter just about summed up Morgan Park’s afternoon against Penn (Ind.) at the Chi-Town Showdown Saturday at Whitney Young.
After Morgan Park fought to within 36-30 on a pair of free throws by Kierra Graves with 51.4 seconds
remaining in the quarter, Penn’s Olivia Carlton made consecutive three-pointers from deep in the left corner.
The second, which came after Shami Goodman just got a fingernail on the pass from Penn point guard Taylor Lutz, beat the buzzer to give the Kingsmen a 42-30 lead.
No. 16 Morgan Park, which never led in the game and trailed by as many as 12 points in the third quarter and 13 points in the fourth, got within 51-47 with 27 seconds remaining. But the Mustangs could get no closer and fell to visitors from Indiana 52-47.
“They did a very good job with us today,” Morgan Park coach Thomas Johnson said. “All year, we’re going to have a problem rebounding because of our size. We realize that. But we didn’t do the things that we normally do. Give credit to them. They did a good job.”
Morgan Park (3-1) also hurt itself by missing layups on four fastbreak opportunities – three in the third quarter – and had at least three other baskets wiped out by the officials so they could call fouls on the drive.
The last came on a move to the rim by Bhrea Griffin, who missed both foul shots with her team trailing 46-36 with 3:32 left in the game.
“It’s frustrating,” Johnson said. “But I’m going to be like NBA coaches and I’m not going to complain about the referees. I got nothing to say about the referees.”
Carlton led Penn (5-2) with 20 points, Lutz added 10 and freshman Camryn Buhr added eight.
“We don’t normally play zone, we just try to take away whatever the other team is best at,” Carlton said. “A team that wants to penetrate like Morgan Park, our goal is to take that away. I thought we did a pretty good job of that, cutting off their penetration and forcing them to shoot the outside shot.”
Graves led Morgan Park with 16 points and Goodman had 12 points and six rebounds.
“We’re not the biggest team, but we want to be the toughest team out there,” the Coastal Carolina-bound Carlton said. “It’s not about the stats for us. It’s about our team getting the win.”