The Spring Hill College women's basketball team closed out their fall semester schedule with a thrilling 67-64 non-conference victory over the Lindsey Wilson College Blue Raiders on Friday evening at the Arthur R. Outlaw Recreation Center.
The Blue Raiders (11-2) entered the game as the best shooting team in the NAIA hitting over 48% of their shots, but the Badgers held the visitors to a 42.4% (25-59) night and came up with the big plays in the final few seconds of play to earn the upset.
The Badgers and the Blue Raiders sloughed through the first four minutes of play as both teams struggled with their shooting and maintaining ball possession. Lindsey Wilson woke up first and built out a 15-3 lead with 12 minutes to play in the half and maintained that cushion for the next three minutes until sophomore guard Natalie Harper found her range from the outside and drained three consecutive 3-point shots to cut it down to a 23-18 deficit at the 7-minute mark.
Senior forward Sha Sha Buchanan would convert on a layup and the subsequent foul shot to tie the game at 29 with 2:36 on the 1st half clock, but LWC carried a 36-33 advantage into the intermission.
A hoop by Buchanan that opened the 2nd half was followed by a Blue Raider turnover that resulted in 3-point bucket by sophomore guard Armanee' Broussard to give SHC its first lead in the game since leading 1-0 for the game's first 3½ minutes.
Spring Hill trailed by four points at 58-54 with six minutes to play, but rallied once again to tie the game 58-58 off a layup by Harper. From there the teams traded the lead three times with four ties over the next five minutes. With 21 seconds left on the scoreboard, Jamie Cummings of LWC was called for holding Buchanan on the baseline and the senior stepped to the foul line with the Badgers down 64-63 and made her first free throw. She then missed the second but ripped the rebound out of a pack of players under the basket.
Following a Spring Hill timeout, the Badgers went to the hot hand in Harper who drew a foul from Cassidy Martin while shooting from behind the 3-point line on the right side. Harper calmly drained all three free throws with just four seconds remaining to stake SHC to the 67-64 lead. A final desperation half-court heave by Kayla Richardson of the Blue Raiders was on line but fell short as the Badgers took the victory.
Harper scored her season-high with 22 points including five 3-point baskets while Buchanan dropped in 19 points with 11 rebounds. Broussard contributed another 12 points as the Badgers shot 33.3% (22-66) from the floor and 31.8% (7-22) from 3-point distance. SHC took the rebounding totals in a 41-40 decision with none bigger than Buchanan's late-game heroics.
Cummings tallied a double-double for the Blue Raiders with 11 points and 13 rebounds as Tara Arnold scored 13 points to pace LWC on offense. The Blue Raiders shot 29.4% (5-17) from 3-point land.
Spring Hill turned the ball over 15 times against seven steals by LWC while the Blue Raiders suffered 16 turnovers versus eight Badger steals.
The Badgers (4-8, 1-3 SSAC) will next play at the Auburn University at Montgomery (AUM) Warhawks (6-5, 2-2 SSAC) in a conference tilt at the AUM Physical Education Complex on Friday, January 10, at 5:30 p.m.