PORT HURON — Early struggles hurt the Muskegon Community College women in their 65-53 second-round loss to Bryant & Stratton College in the NJCAA national tourney on Thursday.

“We had a goal at the start of the game to show everyone that our win against the fourth seed was not just a fluke,” said Jayhawks coach Jason Cooper about his team’s first-round win over Illinois Central on Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, we struggled early in the game with making our shots, and we struggled in the second half to catch back up.”

The Jayhawks fell into an 18-point deficit, 33-15 at the halftime beak and it turned out to be a hole they couldn’t dig out of, although they outscored the Bobcats by six in the second half and narrowed the gap to nine points.

With their shooting woes, the Jayhawks got off to a slow start and trailed the Bobcats, 17-6 at the end of the first period. The Bobcats outscored the Jayhawks, 16-9 in the second for that 18-point halftime deficit.

The Jayhawks regrouped during the halftime break and did better in the second half, outscoring the Bobcats, 15-11 in the third period to shave the margin down to 14 points, 44-30 heading into the fourth period. The Jayhawks had a 23-21 edge in the fourth period, but it wasn’t enough.

It took the Jayhawks out of the Final Four, but they still have one more game left and can snare a fifth place finish.

Leading the way for the Jayhawks was Julia Tierman (Mona Shores) who scored 11 points, picked off five steals and hauled down five rebounds.

Suzan Sisman (Marselisberg) contributed 10 points and two assists, and Ally Seiber (Reeths-Puffer) added 10 points and three rebounds.

Mariah Pringle (Brethren) who scored nine points, ripped down 19 rebounds and dished out three assists. Calla Miller (Fremont) added five points, four rebounds and two assists.

Trina Lewis (Reeths-Puffer) had four points and four rebounds, and Karleigh Jeffries (Whitehall) had four points.

Now 25-5 on the season, the Jayhawks move on to the consolation bracket and will play Friday at 3 p.m. against eight seed North Central Missouri at St. Clair Community College in Port Huron.