Three potential game-winning shots, all in the paint, failed to drop in the final 24 seconds of overtime as Western Washington University fell 64-63 to nationally ranked West Texas A&M University on Thursday, Dec. 18, in first-day women’s basketball action at the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic being held at the South Point Arena in Las Vegas.
The upset-minded Vikings, who dropped to 5-4, led 63-62 with 2:41 left in the extra period after a layup by point guard Jenni White. But WTAMU’s Madison McLain made 1-of-2 free throws to tie the score at 1:38 and Sasha Watson converted 1-of-2 at the line at 0:43 to put the Lady Buffs ahead to stay.
A layup by WWU center Kayla Bernsen fell off the rim with 43 seconds to go and jumpers by White and forward Taylor Peacocke in the final four seconds could not find the mark.
Bernsen finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and a game-high five blocked shots. Peacocke scored 15 points and White had 13.
WTAMU, ranked No. 4 in the USA Today Sports/NCAA II Top 25 Poll, improved to 8-1 and extended its winning streak to eight games. The Lady Buffs were led by the 25 points and 17 rebounds, both game highs, of center Chontiquah White, who made 9-of-16 shots from the floor and 7-of-9 free throws.
There were 17 lead changes and 11 ties in the contest. WWU, which shot 58.3 percent (14 of 24) from the field in the first half, led 34-32 at halftime as Peacocke scored 11 points in the period.
The Vikings trailed by five points, 46-41, midway through the second half and after taking a brief lead were down by three, 54-51, with 2:57 left in regulation.
Two free throws by Peacocke and a layup by Jenni White put WWU ahead by one, 55-54, with 2:08 left. A 3-pointer by McLain at 1:16 gave WTAMU at 57-54 advantage, and Jenni White tied the game at 57-all on a jumper at 1:02.
Each team failed to score on two possessions in the final minute, sending the game to overtime.
WWU head coach Carmen Dolfo, who was celebrating her 50th birthday, was unable to get her 500th victory in her second attempt. She has a 499-187 record in 24 seasons directing the Vikings and is seeking to become the first four-year collegiate coach in the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest (Idaho, Oregon and Washington) to record 500 victories at one university in those states.
WEST TEXAS A&M 64, WESTERN WASHINGTON 63
WHITE, Chontiquah 9-16 7-9 25; WATSON, Sasha 4-9 5-8 13; OLIVER, Haylee 3-4 3-4 10; McLAIN, Madison 2-11 3-7 8; ROBERTSON, Ariel 3-6 0-2 6; LOGAN, Danielle 1-9 0-0 2; DAVIS, Zantaya 0-2 0-0 0; VESSELS, Jordan 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-58 18-30 64.
Bernsen,Kayla 6-12 5-9 17; Peacocke,Taylor 6-12 2-2 15; White,Jenni 6-13 0-0 13; Briggs,Tia 3-7 0-0 6; Albert,Rachel 2-2 0-0 4; Hathaway,Aleisha 1-3 1-2 3; Colard,Katie 1-7 0-0 3; Gandy,Kiana 1-2 0-0 2; Donaldson,Sydney 0-2 0-0 0; Pounds,Marcel 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-60 8-13 63.