Same song, second verse.
The Southwestern women had a 31-28 halftime lead over North Central Missouri College Nov. 9 at Trenton, Mo., before falling 69-58.
In the return meeting here Wednesday night, the Spartans led by as many as 10 points before holding a 26-18 advantage at intermission. The Lady Pirates went on a 3-point shooting binge to overtake Southwestern and sweep the season series, 55-53.
But the loss didn’t come without some drama at the end.
Southwestern had possession with a 53-52 lead with 1:00 left, but missed a shot. North Central took over with 34 seconds left, and 10 seconds later 5-11 post player Kayla Oetterer was fouled. She made both charity shots to give the Lady Pirates a 54-53 edge.
A shot by SWCC’s Peyton Russell on a drive to the basket rimmed out with 15 seconds left, and a jump ball was called in the scramble for the rebound. Possession went to North Central.
The Lady Pirates threw long against Southwestern’s press, and Oetterer was fouled again. She made the first to make it 55-53, but missed the second. However, Southwestern failed to block out and Oetterer rebounded her own miss.
She was fouled again, but a lane violation was called against North Central on the free throw, giving Southwestern the ball with :07 and the length of the court to get the tying or winning shot off.
Point guard Morgan Knorr, who led the Spartans with 18 points, received the inbounds pass and advanced the ball upcourt. Her attack was halted by the Lady Pirates defense, so she shoveled a pass inside to sophomore center Darian Polson.
Polson was also unable to get a shot off as the clock started to wind to :01, so she quickly kicked it back out to Knorr, who launched a hurried 3-pointer just before the buzzer. The shot caught the front of the rim and bounced off, leaving the Spartans two points short at 55-53.
A win would have pulled Southwestern (2-4) up to .500 for the season, a notable feat after an 0-30 season.
“It wasn’t a terrible look,” SWCC coach Addae Houston said. “I think if Morgan had been able to not rush it and get her legs into it, it probably would have went in. Luck just wasn’t on our side tonight.”
It was a similar refrain from the earlier loss at Trenton, and Houston said he tried to remind his players that North Central could forge a second-half charge.
“We lost to this team the same way before,” Houston said. “We were up on them at their place, close to 15, and this game we were up at least 10 points before they started to rally a little bit. I tried to tell them at halftime, they are a team that’s going to keep fighting. They will battle back. We got a little lucky in the first half with some missed shots.”
On the strength of four 3-pointers, North Central (4-2) took a 36-32 lead five minutes into the second half. Two minutes later, Southwestern had recaptured the lead, 39-36, and it stayed within one possession the rest of the way. Southwestern was outscored 37-27 in the second half.
“We didn’t finish,” Houston said. “But we want to be able to compete with teams like this. It gives me an idea what to go back and work on. What individuals need to work on, so we can continue to climb the ladder.”
The ladder has a pretty high rung in Southwestern’s next outing, a trip to Highland, Kan., to face the team that won 93-42 last weekend on the Spartans’ court.
“We’ll see that (defensive) pressure again and we’ll have to do a better job of handling that,” Houston said.
NORTH CENTRAL (MO.) (55) — Lexi Hope 5 3-4 18, Kayla Oetterer 6 3-7 15, Nancy Berwanger 2 2-2 7, Samone Redditt 2 1-2 6, Jackie Graham 1 2-2 4, Sydnee Rounkles 1 2-3 4, Meagan O’Dell 0 1-2 1. Totals — 17 14-23 55. 3-point goals — 7 (Hope 5, Berwanger 1, Redditt 1). Team fouls — 21. Fouled out — None.
SOUTHWESTERN (53) — Morgan Knorr 6 4-5 18, Darian Polson 4 1-2 9, Jordan Williamson 2 5-7 9, Jill Vanderhoof 3 2-3 8, Rhecie Lee 2 0-0 4, Peyton Russell 0 3-6 3, J’myrehea Douglas 1 0-4 2. Totals — 18 15-27 53. 3-point goals — 2 (Knorr 2). Team fouls — 22. Fouled out — None.
N. Central — 18 55
SWCC — 26 53