Phoenix Staff Reports
EDMOND — Senior guard Taylor Lewis rattled home a 10-foot jumper with 2.8 seconds to play to lift Northeastern to a 54-53 victory over Central Oklahoma on Wednesday night inside Hamilton Field House.
The RiverHawks (10-5, 5-2 MIAA) held their largest lead of the game at 16 points with just 9:33 left in the contest, but the Bronchos (8-7, 1-6 MIAA) went on a 22-6 run over the course of the next 8:18 to tie the contest at 50-50.
Senior forward Sarah Green converted a layup with 40 seconds left, but a three from Chelsi Dennis with just 17 seconds to play gave the home side its first lead of the game at 53-52.
NSU coach Randy Gipson called a timeout to calm his team down, and the RiverHawks looked the part in the final ticks off the clock.
“I told them that we’ve got the ball and the game was ours to win. I told them to run good offense, and not to stand around waiting for something to happen,” Gipson said. “We needed to make good cuts and take the ball to the basket. I felt like we had become tentative and I thought we needed to come out and be aggressive. We’re a motion team, so we didn’t really have a set play called. But we emphasized certain cuts we wanted to make.”
After the team broke the press and set up the offense, Lewis collected the ball on the right wing and proceeded to dribble through the top of the post on the left side.
Lewis was being heavily guarded, but a well-timed pump fake forced her defender to jump early. She was able to rise above and get off a clean shot, and the ball bounced on the rim and went down as NSU regained the lead with 2.8 seconds left to play.
Lewis finished the contest with a game-high 19 points on an efficient 7-for-13 shooting. She was also 5-for-10 from distance. Sophomore guard Chelsey Stricklen tied her career high with 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting. Fellow sophomore guard Fontana Tate scored six points and pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds.
The Bronchos were led in scoring by Rachel New’s 13 off the bench. Whitney Dunn added 12 and Alyssa Fuxa contributed 10.
NSU returns home for a matchup with No. 9 Washburn at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.