LOWELL | In a battle of Times top 10 teams, No. 5 Merrillville just had too many offensive options for No. 4 Lowell on Saturday night in The Pit.
Merrillville (7-3) used a balanced attack and a swarming defense to turn back a determined Lowell, 72-58.
The Pirates put four players in double figures, led by 17 points from Victoria Gaines and 16 from Riana Todd.
Jaz Talley and A.J. Downs each added 12 points. Gaines grabbed 10 rebounds to finish with a double-double and added three assists and three blocked shots.
Merrillville opened the second quarter with an 11-4 run to take a commanding 30-18 lead. Todd had three points in the surge, while Myranda Harris came of the bench to hit a 3-pointer.
Lowell’s Nicole Sharkey sank a free throw with 3:05 remaining in the second quarter to stop the bleeding. Lowell regrouped and finished the half with a 7-5 scoring advantage to get within 35-26 at the break.
Merillville led 54-39 after three quarters before Lowell got to within 60-52 with 4:50 left in the game. Lowell (7-2) would get no closer the rest of the way and lost for the second time after opening the season with seven consecutive wins.
Lowell hasn’t beaten Merrillville since 2005.
Sharkey led the Red Devils with 25 points. Hunter Jusevitch added 14 points, while Sydney Barta chipped in with six points and collected nine rebounds.