TYLER – The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor women’s basketball team gave up late baskets in the second half and overtime as the Cru fell to Louisiana College 91-90 in an overtime heartbreaker in the First Round of the American Southwest Conference Championship Tournament Thursday in Tyler. UMHB saw a four-point lead slip away in the final minute of regulation and lost another four-point lead in the final minute of overtime.
The Cru built an eight-point lead at 75-67 with 2:43 left in regulation, but Louisiana College used a 10-3 run to pull to within 78-77 with 14 seconds left. Macy Moore hit two free throws to give UMHB an 80-77 edge with 11 seconds to go, but Neka Jones buried a three-pointer five seconds later to tie the game at 80 and send it to overtime. The Cru would open up a five-point lead on two occasions in overtime and led 90-86 after Moore made one of two free throws with 52 seconds remaining. Karylon Thornton converted a three-point play for LC with 43 seconds left and after a Cru turnover, Danisha Allison scored off a Jones miss with 1.5 seconds left. The Cru would not get off a shot on the final possession as the Wildcats stole the inbound pass to seal it.
UMHB opened the second half with an 8-0 run to erase a 36-28 halftime deficit. Louisiana College answered by re-taking the lead and stretching it to 11 points at 52-41 with 12:56 to go. The Cru battled back and took its first lead of the second half at 64-62 on two Taylor Tucker free throws with 7:00 on the clock. The two teams traded the lead from there before UMHB pushed it out to that seven-point edge at 75-67.
Tucker had a monster game in her final appearance in a UMHB uniform, pouring in a game-high 28 points and adding 13 rebounds. Jonelle Smith had 19 points and hit 4-6 from three-point range and Moore finished with 15 points for the Cru. UMHB shot 45 percent from the field as a team and hit 6-11 from beyond the arc. The Cru also went 32-39 from the free throw line and out rebounded the Wildcats 49-41. But UMHB also turned the ball over 26 times, leading to 29 Louisiana College points.
Jones topped LC with 26 points and she hit 5-13 from three-point range. Allison added 19 points and 15 rebounds and Kaci Willis and Skyler Chenevert had 12 points apiece before fouling out. The Wildcats shot 40 percent from the field as a team and went 8-21 on three-pointers. LC shot 65 percent from the free throw line as a team and committed just 15 turnovers in the game.
The Cru finishes the season at 13-13 following the defeat after advancing to the ASC Championship Tournament for the third consecutive season. The loss also closes out the careers of four UMHB seniors. Tucker, Moore, Alyssa Dean and Alisha Mosley all played their final games for the Cru. Louisiana College improves to 17-7 with the win and will now advance to the ASC Semifinals to face the U.T.-Dallas/Concordia Texas winner at 5:00 PM on Friday.