Coming out after halftime, the Lady Eagles (6-9, 1-3 AAC) looked to build upon their lead to put the game out of reach, but instead soon found themselves tied up.
Union (10-3, 3-0) came out the aggressor, with its defensive pressure paying off by forcing Reinhardt to turn the ball over throughout the second half.
Taking advantage of Reinhardt’s inability to maintain possession of the ball, Union scored the first 10 points of the half to draw to within one with only 4 minutes elapsed.
Reinhardt was only able to cling to its lead for a short while longer before the Bulldogs hit a 3-pointer to take a 38-37 with 13 minutes remaining.
With the Lady Eagles in danger of losing their grip on the contest, guard Tara Hay gave her team some much-needed life by tying the game at 41. She then made a steal and scored a go-ahead basket before drawing a foul, making a free throw and then making a 3-pointer to give her team a five-point lead.
Union did not go away, however, and with less than 30 seconds left in the contest, the teams found themselves tied at 55.
With just over 19 seconds remaining, Hay found space in the lane and drove toward the basket, but her effort was wiped out when Reinhardt center Taylor Johnson was called for an illegal screen.
Now with possession, the Bulldogs drove the length of the court before forward Lindsey Waters made what would be the go-ahead shot and drawing a foul in the process.
Waters missed the front end of a 1-and-1 situation, but she got the offensive rebound was fouled again and made both free throws.
The Lady Eagles found themselves with less than a second to make up the four-point difference, which they were unable to do.
Hay led Reinhardt with 17 points and two assists, while Johnson finished with 13 points. One of the night’s standout players was April Beasley, who recorded a game-high 16 rebounds for the Lady Eagles.
Leading the Bulldogs on the night was Waters, who scored 20 and registered six blocks.
Reinhardt coach Lindsey Huffman felt there were numerous things the Lady Eagles could have done better in the second half to maintain control.
“We lost intensity going into the beginning of the second half,” Huffman said. “Their penetration against our zone really started to hurt us, and it opened up their inside game more for them.”
Huffman was also dissatisfied with the 21 turnovers that Reinhardt gave up during the course of the game.
“Turnovers just killed us,” she said. “They scored 25 points off of our turnovers. We have got to have better decision-making.”
Despite the defeat, Huffman was pleased with her team’s effort.
“I thought we played hard,” she said. “I was proud of the girls for playing all 40 minutes. I didn’t think we deserved to lose like that.”
After a 4-1 start, the Lady Eagles have won only two of their last 10 games, and are on a four-game losing streak. They will look to break out of their slump when they travel to Milligan College on Saturday.