One shot separated Northwest women’s basketball from a trip to overtime with Lincoln in its 2018-2019 MIAA debut Dec. 6 at Bearcat Arena.
Trailing by 11 points at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Bearcats faced an uphill climb. With 49 seconds remaining, junior guard Kendey Eaton hit two free throws brining the game within three points.
Fellow transfer Erika Schlotter put up the potential game-tying shot as the buzzer sounded. It fell outside the bucket, handing Northwest a 69-66 loss. It marked Lincoln’s (7-0, 1-0 MIAA) first win over Northwest since Dec. 18, 2015.
“I told them I was proud of them for battling back,” coach Austin Meyer said. “I said we never want to accept losing and be happy, but we did some good things. I thought we did compete.”
Four Bearcats finished with double-digit scoring on the night. Sophomore guard Jaelyn Haggard scored 14, Eaton scored 13, senior forward Kaylani Maiava scored 12, and sophomore forward Mallory McConkey scored 10. Northwest (3-5, 0-1 MIAA) hit 39.8 percent of its shots in the game.
Northwest’s bench was a large asset in the game, outscoring Lincoln’s bench 24-14..
“It’s confidence,” sophomore forward Mia Stillman said. “Our bench really provides confidence for our girls that are out there on the court.”
The Bearcats opened the game on an 11-4 run with the help of a seven-point start by Haggard. During this run, Haggard hit her only two three-pointers of the game.
Lincoln took control of the lead with 4:51 remaining in the first quarter. The Blue Tigers led for the remainder of the game. They out rebounded Northwest 34-26.
“Defensively, I didn’t think we were great,” Meyer said. “We were good in spurts where we flying around really well, we’re just kind of a work in progress there. We just didn’t get the stops we needed to.”
Northwest found itself trailing 55-38 with 3:59 remaining in the third quarter. It slowly began to chop its way back in, ending the frame behind 57-46.
With 3:27 remaining, two McConkey free throws brought the game back within two. Lincoln responded with a 7-0 run.
The final six points by the Bearcats were through free-throws as McConkey, Maiava and Eaton all sank two.
Northwest looks to build off of the loss as it hosts Lindenwood (6-1, 1-0 MIAA) at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 8.
“It shows how much we have grown, our chemistry and just how much times our coaches put into us and scouting especially,” Stillman said.