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Lady Eagles Complete Comeback, Win in Two Overtimes

3/1/2012

It must be playoff time in the American Midwest Conference when chaos rears its head.

Wednesday night was a wild and dramatic women’s basketball game between Williams Baptist College and Harris-Stowe State University at Walnut Ridge.  Despite holding a 14 point halftime lead, HSSU fell in two overtimes to the Lady Eagles from WBC in the quarterfinals of the AMC tournament.  The final score was 90-87.

The evening got off to a rough start for Williams, as it shot 25 percent from the field in the first half.  HSSU shot 50 percent in the period and held a 40-26 advantage as the teams broke for halftime.  

Head Coach Carol Halford gave a rattling halftime speech that woke her players up in the second half.  Williams kept chipping away at the lead, but could not get even with the Hornets until Jessica Shepard made a shot in the paint with 15 seconds left.  That tied the score at 68.  The Hornets could not get a good look at the basket and the game headed to overtime.  

Fatigue was playing its role, as both teams had used extensive energy throughout the contest.

The first overtime was back and forth, and Harris-Stowe held a two point edge on the Eagles with less than nine seconds remaining. With WBC in possession, Kimberly Wise was fouled going for a layup. She knocked in both pressure free throws to tie the game up at 80 and send it to overtime number two.  

The Hornets opened the second overtime on a 4-0 run.  Williams responded with two 3-point field goals.  Wise made the first one, and Shepard put in the second with 1:53 remaining.  Shepard’s 3-point basket gave the Lady Eagles their first lead since 14 minutes remained in the first half, when they led 11-10.  This time the lead would not be relinquished.  Shepard would add two more clutch free throws and Williams earned its way to the semifinals with a 90-87 win.

Sophomore Cheyenne Childers led the Lady Eagles comeback with 15 of her 18 points in the second half and overtime.  She said, “We did not execute in the first half like we expect ourselves to.   We were not moving offensively.  However, we got together at halftime and made a commitment to execution in the second half.”  

Execute they did.  WBC shot 60 percent in the second half and overtime, making an impressive 22 of the 37 shots taken.  Meanwhile, its defense held the Hornets to 35 percent shooting, making only 16 of the 46 shots they took.

The Lady Eagles had five players in double figures: Wise with 20, Becky Caldwell  with 19, Childers with 18, Kala Tyus with 13 and Shepard with 12.   Shepard also had 10 assists on the night for a double-double.

The win takes Williams to the semifinals, where they will travel to Fulton, Mo., to compete against William Woods University.   The game will be played on Friday, March 2, at 7 p.m.

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