"We had to capitalize with them in foul trouble, and we simply didn't do that," the Lincoln coach said. "That was pivotal. We were able to rebound with them, but we just couldn't score after we grabbed the eight-point lead."
Lincoln (9-19) was able to get the lead when Casey went the first half of the third quarter without a basket. Trailing 28-26 at the half, Lincoln opened the third quarter on a 10-0 scoring run paced by four points each by Jenny Jones and Kendra Garris, plus a putback from Jessica Ryan to lead 36-28.
Patterson and Murphy picked up their fourth fouls apiece and Lincoln was looking for the knockout punch with Casey's talented duo on the bench. It was Lincoln, though, that turned cold and the Rebels got a lift from reserve Bethany Snow, who tallied twice before the period came to a close to pull Casey (11-16) to within two points at 36-34 entering the final quarter.
Lincoln failed to score during the final 4:32 of the third frame, and scored just two baskets during the entire fourth quarter.
Murphy returned to the game and fouled out just 38 seconds into the fourth quarter. That's when Casey got scoring support from Lindsey Hoskins, who nailed two treys to give the Rebels the lead for good at 43-40.
In between those two baskets was a rare six-point opportunity as Casey was fouled under the basket on a three-pointer by Kelli Warner, and both coaches said that was a huge point in the game.
"That turn of events was huge for us," Salyers said. "It turned all the momentum to us."
'We never did recover after that play," Kolasa said.
Casey put the game out of reach by scoring 12 in a row
Instead, Casey reeled off 12 points in a row, mostly on Hoskins free throws, to put the game out of reach.
Both teams opened the game in a full-court press. A pair of baskets by Jones gave Lincoln a quick 4-0 lead before a pair of baskets by Patterson and a trey by Kelli Warner gave the Rebels a 7-6 advantage.
Nine of the Patriots shots were from beyond the 3-point arc while Casey decided to take the ball inside to Murphy. A pair of baskets by Murphy, including the 1,000th point of her career, knotted the score at 11-11 but Lincoln 's Jamie Duncan and Amber Statham hit a 3-pointer apiece before the quarter came to a close to give Lincoln a 17-13 advantage.
Casey opened the second frame by pounding the ball inside and grabbed a 22-20 lead following nine points from Murphy. Lincoln shot all eight of its field goal tries in the second quarter from beyond the 3-point arc and regained the lead at 26-22 on a pair of treys from Statham and 3-pointer by Duncan. Lincoln failed to score the rest of the half while Hoskins, who led all scorers with 18 points, tallied twice and Casey led 28-26 at the half.
Out of 24 shots during the first half, Lincoln attempted 17 from beyond the arc, and the Patriots also missed on all seven of their free throw attempts.
"We would have liked to have taken the ball inside more, and could have probably done a better job as the game went along," Kolasa added.
Lincoln finished 17 of 46 from the field, including 7-for-26 from 3-point range, for 37 percent while Casey connected on 19 of 41 tries for 46 percent.
LINCOLN (9-19) - Jamie Duncan 6, Jenny Jones 14, Jessica Ryan 5, Gwen Hardwick 6, Kendra Garris 7, Amber Statham 9, Shakelia Miller 1.
CASEY (11-16) - Beth Patterson 8, Meagan Murphy 13, Kelli Warner 10, Lindsey Hoskins 18, Tabitha Yaden 3, Bethany Snow 4.