SAN ANTONIO (Feb. 28, 2014) – Mercedes Dobson (JR, West Sacramento, Calif.)'s buzzer beater in overtime helped the Our Lady of the Lake University women's basketball team defeat Wiley College to claim the NAIA DI Women's Basketball Game of the Week Friday evening in Mabee Gym. The No. 10-ranked Saints beat the No. 9-ranked Wildcats 102-100 to move to 15-2 in the Red River Athletic Conference and 25-3 overall. Wiley drops to 15-2 and 26-3 overall.
The two teams are tied in the conference, followed by Langston University (13-5/17-11). The three teams, along with Jarvis Christian College (10-8/14-8) have qualified for the post-season. Four other teams are vying for the last slots for the tournament that begins next week.
Head Coach Christopher Minner said, "I thought we played very hard and our energy level was very high. We didn't make many free throws, but we were still able to pull off the win. Everyone went hard, no one gave up. We practice this all year long, to be prepared to come in when someone gets injured. Nashae Owens (JR, Pearland, Texas) went out with an ankle injury, but Lauren Rubio (SO, San Antonio, Texas) and Sam Offord (SR, Kaufman, Texas) stepped up,"
|Saints Reporter Martin Hansson interviewed Head Coach Christopher Minner after the game.|
|KSAT-TV ran a story on the Saints win.|
The game started with the Wildcats taking the first lead. The score would change hands several times through nine minutes after which Wiley took a 7-0 run to lead 29-23. The Saints would chip away the lead back to two, but the Wildcats would come back to regain a six-point lead at 37-31. A 3-pointer from Chelsea Solis (SR, San Antonio, Texas) tied the score at 39 and the Saints then continued to build up their lead to 43-40. After a basket from Kyniddia Purdy, Rebecca Kolawole (JR, Rowlett, Texas) started a Saints 7-2 run to take the 50-44 lead at halftime.
Alexia Kelley started things off for Wiley to begin the second half, and a 3-pointer from Solis kept the Saints lead at 53-46. Kolawole gave the Saints their biggest lead of the game at 55-48 after two minutes had passed from the start of the half. Within three minutes, the Wildcats took back the lead at 56-55. A 3-pointer from Dobson tied the score at 58. The Saints kept the lead through the 11th minute when Purdy gave her team the lead at 68-67. Wiley increased their lead to five at 76-71, and a pair of free throws from Ornela Bacchini (SR, Buenos Aires, Argentina) returned the lead to the Saints at 76-73 lead. With less than seven minutes remaining, a basket from Courtney Bayliss (JR, Perth, Western Australia) tied the score at 78. The Saints went up by four, and after that, the teams tied four more times through the end of regulation at 91-91.
Overtime began with the Saints taking the 93-91 lead after Kolawole made her shot. Lauren Rubio attempted a layup and was fouled, but she missed both free throws. The Wildcats took advantage of that and tied the game at 93. A basket went in for Rubio, and Wiley answered with a shot from the paint to tie at 95. Rubio was fouled again and she sank one of two to give the Saints the 96-95 lead. Dobson got slammed to the floor, sending her several feet down the court. She made it up okay to sink both free throws to give the Saints the 98-95 lead. With 50 seconds remaining in the game, Wiley's Kirbi Clark made her shot to take the game to 98-97. Bayliss made both of her free throws to give the Saints the 100-97 lead. Wiley's Keaira Arion sank a 3-pointer to tie the score with five seconds remaining in the game. After a timeout, the Saints took possession of the ball, and Dobson found the basket under the net at the buzzer to give the Saints the 102-100 win.
Dobson led the Saints in scoring with 21 points including 6-of-11 from the field, 3-of-6 from 3-point range and 6-of-8 free throws. She added 10 rebounds. Bayliss added 18 points, while Sam Offord scored 16 and recorded 11 boards. Bacchini finished with 15 points and Solis ended with 11.
The Saints shot 41 percent from the field, 31 percent from 3-point range and 70 percent from the free-throw line.
Wiley's Purdy scored 19 points and teammate Alexia Kelly had 18 – both fouled out of the game late in the second half. Keaira Arion and Danisha Shaw scored 14 points, with Arion adding 11 rebounds. Kirbi Clark added 10 point and 12 rebounds.
The Wildcats shot 42 percent from the field, 12 percent from 3-point range and 67 percent from the free-throw line. They outrebounded the Saints 58 to 49 and forced 18 turnovers, while committing 15.
The Saints will play their last home game of the season tomorrow against LSU-Shreveport. After the game, Saints' seniors Bacchini, Offord, Solis and Sequestiny O'Neal (SR, Midland, Texas) will be honored.