Last-second shot helps TC sweep week


Chelsea Malone? dribbles past Spires defender Leslie Teal during the first half of Tabor?s 38-37 win over Saint Mary. Malone scored the winning shot Thursday, and played what coach Shawn Winter called ?her best game of the season? in Tabor?s win over Bethel Saturday.

Two days after Chelsea Malone?s last-second shot aced out Saint Mary?s bid for a win in Hillsboro, the Tabor College women?s basketball team made short work of Bethel, 69-59. Tabor edged Saint Mary 38-37 Thursday.

?I think the buzzer beater against Saint Mary gave our team a much needed confidence boost going into the Bethel game,? coach Shawn Winter said.

Bethel?Playing without scorer Amanda Hiebert, who missed the game with a knee injury sustained during pregame warmup, the Threshers led 10-8 6:26 into the first half.

Tabor took the lead on Brittany Roth's traditional 3-point play, and never trailed again.

?Our players executed the defensive game plan that we had worked on in practice for two days and it really forced Bethel into several turnovers,? coach Shawn Winter said. ?We also battled physically and mentally as hard as we have all season.?

Roth scored again on an inbounds play a moment later, and Kirsten Watson cemented it with a right wing 3-pointer.

Chelsea Malone made it 18-10 and forced a Bethel timeout with a foul-line jumper assisted by Gina Hullet.

?Chelsea had her best game of the season not only scoring but playing great on the defensive end of the court as well,? Winter said. ?Brittany Roth played a solid game as well finishing plays at the basket and playing exceptional post defense.?

Bethel closed within 19-17 on a 3-pointer by Krishna Phifer late in the first half, but Malone?s back-to-back triples?hoisted from nearly identical setups on the left wing side?lifted Tabor to a 29-21 lead.

The Bluejays led 33-23 at halftime, and widened the gap to as much as 13, but Bethel closed within six to make it interesting down the stretch.

After Roth?s foul shots at 5:32 raised Tabor?s lead to 56-48, Malone blunted Bethel?s run, taking a charge from Rachael Bachman with 4:59 to go. The foul was Bachman?s fourth personal.

Hullet finished the Bluejays possession with a dribble drive layup that made it a 10-point game, and Andrea Robinson’s foul shooting stiff-armed the Threshers during the final minute.

Roth finished with 13 points and three other Bluejays broke into double-digits: Robinson (16), Watson (12) and Malone (13).

Tabor dominated the boards 36-26. Hullet finished with 9 points and 9 rebounds.

?We still need to limit our turnovers and continue to improve our offensive execution,? Winter said.

Bachman?s 20 points led Bethel.

Saint Mary?Despite a tough shooting night for players on both sides of the scorer?s table, Thursday?s contest provided a finish that will not soon be forgotten.

Spires forward Addie Heim turned a 36-34 Tabor lead into a 1-point lead for her team when she added the free throw after drawing a Tabor foul while scoring the tying layup.

The Spires had crawled out of an 11-point hole, and had all the momentum.

?We were out of time-outs and had Andrea (Robinson) try to bring the ball the length of the court and look to draw another defender to dish to a teammate or create a shot for herself,? Winter said. ?She made a good decision to take the ball into the lane and really didn’t have anyone else open.

?(Robinson) got off a shot and Jordan Crosson was able to get a hand on the ball which fell right into Chelsea’s path,? he continued. ?She picked it up, took one dribble and made an incredible shot off the glass while falling into the cheerleaders.?

?It was one of the greatest finishes I have ever been a part of,? he added.

It was Malone’s only basket of the night, but she was hardly alone in the struggle: Tabor missed 39 of 50 field goal tries, and Saint Mary missed 32 of 44.

?I would have to agree it was one of the ugliest basketball games ever played on any level, but that last shot is all that really matters,? Winter said. ?The one thing that we did do well was to battle on defense and we made it very difficult for Saint Mary’s to get good shots.?

With more than the usual number of caroms there for the taking, Tabor dominated the glass at both ends with 44 rebounds, 20 offensive. The Bluejays committed 27 turnovers.

Despite gasping for offense, Tabor?s defense allowed several sustained runs, including an 11-3 jaunt during the final seven minutes of the first half.

?We constantly talk to our players about the importance of defending every possession every night because you never know what might happen on the offensive end,? Winter said. ?This game was a prime example as we only scored 38 points but were still able to win.?

Coming?Tabor (3-3) will travel to engage Sterling at 6 p.m. Thursday. Tabor will host Ottawa at 5 p.m. Saturday.

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