The Tabor College women's basketball team overcame a 10-point
first-half deficit to win on Jordan Crosson's layup with 3 seconds left
Thursday night at Southwestern. The Bluejays and Moundbuilders combined
for 85 points on 27 percent shooting, but produced a remarkably
entertaining 43-42 final score in spite of their offensive struggles.
The way Southwestern shot—a 6-for-32 festival of bricks from 3-point
range, and just 11-for-49 from the field—a post-game party thrown by
the Moundbuilders would probably have been no good, had they won. Even
so, Southwestern led 20-10 on the strength of back-to-back triples by
Andrea Smith and Jordan Cossman. Tabor fought off a case of happy feet
that led to at least five traveling violations early in the game and
scored six straight points heading into halftime: a Chelsea Malone
2-pointer, a Kirsten Watson 3-pointer, and a bonus free throw by
Brittany Roth with 26 seconds remaining. The made free throw and the
miss that followed were Tabor's only first-half foul shots.
Southwestern had carried a 5-1 edge in the category into the break and,
predictably, led 20-16 on the scoreboard. As the free throw count
evened out over the course of the second half, Tabor closed the gap.
The Bluejays closed within 22-21 on Sarah Wyckoff's foul shots at
14:48, and tied it on Watson's second 3-pointer.
The Moundbuilders finally found their range and took a 32-26 lead with
a 3-for-5 stretch that included 3-pointers by Brooke Fairbank and
Jordan Jarnagin—and might have done even more if not for two Kara Beal
turnovers and one of the Bluejays' most skillful defensive stands of
the season. After Jarnagin made her triple, she forced Brittany Roth
into a turnover. But when Southwestern tried to run a pick and roll on
the right wing side, Watson and Wyckoff stepped out to force the
Moundbuilder guard to pass. As the guard threaded a pass to the
"rolling" forward, Roth came from the weak side to deny a close-range
shot opportunity. When Roth's mark stepped out to the top of the key to
receive a kick-out pass, Wyckoff prevented her from handling it
cleanly—and Watson stepped in to collect the loose ball.
While the sequence did not lead to an immediate Bluejays score at the
other end, it sparked a series of stops that allowed the Bluejays to halve the lead on Andrea
Robinson's 3-pointer. After Robinson's triple, the Bluejays forced Jasmine Jackson into a
turnover, then knotted the game,
32-all, on Wyckoff's left wing trey off Malone's assist. Malone forced
Jarnagin into a jump ball on Southwestern's next trip, but possession stayed with
the Moundbuilders—until Sara Maxwell's offensive foul handed the ball to the Bluejays.
The Bluejays offense misfired, but their defensive romp continued, forcing a shot clock
violation with 5:16 to go. Crosson then gave Tabor its first lead since
2-0 with a layup assisted by Wyckoff. Southwestern got a point back with a double-bonus free throw, but Tabor widened the lead to 38-33 on
Watson's bonus free throws following a controversial blocking foul
called against Beal with 3:12 left. On Southwestern's ensuing possession, Watson picked Cossman's pocket but
missed the breakway layup, then fouled Beal at the other end. Between Beal's free throws and two by Jackson—who fouled out Gina Hullet with
1:51 to go—the Moundbuilders cut it back to one.
Crosson doubled Tabor's lead to two with a free throw, but Southwestern
took a 40-39 lead on what looked to be the shot of the night—a left
wing trey by Smith with 43 seconds left. Then came an offensive flurry:
a trade of dribble-drive layups by Watson and Beal made it a 42-41
Southwestern lead with 17 seconds to go, with the ball in Tabor's
hands. After one of seven timeouts in the final minute of the game, the
Bluejays inbounded to Watson, who dribbled across the timeline, but was
walled off along the sideline by a Southwestern guard. She forced a
pass through to Robinson on right wing. Robinson dribbled around the
perimeter, cutting toward the left baseline with time running out—but
sensing one too many rotations by the Moundbuilders defense and
declining to put up a wild shot, Robinson sent a pass through
traffic to Crosson, wide open under the basket for the game winner.
Three timeouts set up the final play of the Moundbuilders' season—a last-ditch inbounds pass that Crosson intercepted near mid-court.
The Bluejays visit Kansas Wesleyan at 7 p.m. Saturday.