Skyhawks fall to Cougars in dramatic fashion
In a game that went to overtime, the SIUE Cougars edged out the Skyhawks by a final score of 67-66.
After a 3-point shot from junior guard Heather Butler, the Skyhawks pulled out to a lead of 12-4, but they weren't able to sustain that lead for very long. In less than five minutes the Cougars had cut the lead down to a mere three points. The Skyhawks extended their lead to six points with six minutes in the first half. Unfortunately, SIUE battled back coming within one point of the lead as the teams went to halftime with a score of 30-29.
Whatever Coach Buscher told her girls at halftime definitely got them to come out and play motivated in the second half as the Cougars pulled out to a 33-30 lead right out of the gate. This nail-biter of game continued to be neck and neck for the remainder of the second half. The Skyhawks were able to pull in front of the Cougars by seven points, but once again SIUE battled back, this time taking a lead of 58-57 with under two minutes left in regulation.
After being fouled by Senior Forward, Raven Berry, the Skyhawks would send senior forward Rickiesha Bryant to the line with only 13 seconds left with a chance to win the game. Bryant, who was 2-4 of free throws in the game, missed her first shot, but despite the noise of the crowd hit her second with nothing but net. Junior guard Jasmine Newsome launched a 3-point shot as time expired. It went wide-left resulting in overtime for the two teams.
After holding the lead for the majority of the game the Skyhawks fell behind after SIUE's freshman forward Jessie Wendt pulled back and fired one off from beyond the three-point line. The Skyhawks would battle back tying the game twice in the last three minutes, but they would never reclaim the lead. With the game tied and only 21 seconds left on the clock Newsome fouled senior forward Michaela Herrod who would approach the line at take the game-winning shot with only six seconds left.
Despite losing a gut-wrenching game, there were some positives. Butler continued her record setting year by extending her streak of 3-point shots to 68 games, one game shy of the record held by Loyola Chicago's McCloskey. She also added to her streak of double digit scoring games, reaching 85 straight. Butler is now trailing only Baylor's Brittany Griner for the all time NCAA record.
The leading scorer for the game was Jasmine Newsome with 17 points, five rebounds, three assists and seven steals. Heather Butler was the runner up with 14 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals. Third place in points belongs to Sydney Vanlandingham with 10. She also had one rebound, two assists and three steals.
After a tough road loss the Skyhawks will travel to Eastern Illinois Monday, Feb. 4. To follow the game, follow UTM Athletics on Twitter, @UTMSports.
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