ARKADELPHIA, Arkansas - McMurry University saw a victory slip through its fingers on New Year's Eve day, losing at Henderson State University, 67-62, in overtime at the Duke Wells Center. The loss leaves the War Hawks with a mark of 4-8 overall, while the Lady Reddies improved to 7-2.
McMurry found itself down at the intermission when – in fact – the team easily could have held the upper hand. The War Hawks took an 8-2 lead on an M.J. Vickers layup at the 14:38 mark. However, McM did not score again until the 5:59 mark, when a Keshia Collins jumper drew her team to within one point (11-10), a gap of more than eight-and-one-half minutes without a point.
The War Hawks came out rejuvenated to open the second half. A three-point basket by Claire Bruffey (6 points) with 9:32 left in regulation gave McM its biggest lead of the game, 43-31.
But another scoring lapse by the War Hawks allowed the Lady Reddies to get back into the game. A 9-0 run by HSU made it 43-40 in favor of McM with 6:15 left, eliciting a timeout from War Hawks' head coach Veronica Snow.
Jaryn Koening's (5 points) trey out of the timeout put McMurry up 46-43 and broke the spell for the War Hawks.
The teams played it close to waning minutes of regulation. McMurry, down 52-51, missed two opportunities to forge ahead in the final minute on back-to-back turnovers. HSU's Jill Temples made the back end of a two-shot foul to put the Lady Reddies ahead, 53-51, with 21 seconds remaining in the second period.
McMurry brought the ball up and senior guard Rikeita Thomas tried a little jumper in the lane. The shot missed, but Vickers grabbed the offensive rebound and put it back up, only to get fouled with nine seconds in regulation.
Vickers calmly sank both shots to knot matters at 53-53. HSU threw up a desperation heave that fell short to send the game to the OT segment.
Midway through the overtime, Henderson State had pulled out to a 60-55 cushion. The hosts upped that to nine points, 64-55, with 1:26 left in the OT. Despite the deficit, McMurry still managed to get into position to go for a possible tying basket, thanks to some stellar defense.
Thomas and Collins hit back-to-back layups for McMurry to make it 64-59 with 17 tics left on the clock. A steal by Bridget Dorn> on the defensive end three seconds later was followed by a long three from Thomas with 11 seconds remaining and the score now at 64-62.
With nine seconds to play in OT, McM fouled HSU's Aungelique Sledge, who made just one of two tries, 65-62, to leave the War Hawks with a last gasp. However, a missed layup by Koening was McM's final hope as the Lady Reddies then added a pair of free throws for the 67-62 final score.
Collins' 17 points led all scorers, hitting 7-for-13 from the field. She also had six rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocked shots for an all-around effort.
Thomas had 11 points as the only other War Hawk in double digits. Thomas added three assists.
Jamie Wilson poured in nine points, to go along with four boards and two blocks. Dorn had six points and a team-leading eight caroms, while also registering three blocked shots.
In all, McMurry had eight "rejections" in the contest.
Information for this story provided by McMurry Sports Information.
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