WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Falcons’ furious comeback falls short in OT

For three quarters Saturday, not much was going right for the UTPB women’s basketball team.

Even with all the adversity, the Falcons still gave themselves a chance to win and complete their first Lone Star Conference sweep of the season. UTPB erased an 11-point deficit entering the fourth quarter to force overtime and retook the lead within the first minute of the extra period.

It was not enough, however, as UTPB fell 67-66 to Texas Woman’s University at the Falcon Dome.

Trailing 65-63 in overtime, the Falcons retook the lead thanks to a Morgan Helgesen 3-pointer with 12.2 seconds to go. Helgesen was called for a foul on the ensuing inbounds play for the Pioneers and TWU’s Kendall Lentz converted a pair of free throw to take the lead for good. Lentz finished with a game-high 18 points and seven rebounds.

Free throws proved to be pivotal for Texas Woman’s, which finished 30 of 37 from the foul line. UTPB finished 19 of 31.

UTPB head coach Rae Boothe said that the result felt like a missed opportunity.

“I thought we did fight hard, but I think we waited until the fourth quarter, unfortunately,” Boothe said. “It was kind of the same as (Friday) where we fouled a lot.

“For them to make 30 free throws and for us to miss 12 regardless of that last whistle at the end. I think that’s exactly where we lost this game.”

The Falcons (4-8 overall, 3-8 conference) fought their way back into the game thanks in large part to the efforts of Alexus Quaadman. The sophomore forward recorded a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds with 14 points coming in the second half.

Kim Best finished with nine points, which included the tying basket at the end of regulation, and Helgesen also had nine.

“I think we were just a little bit frazzled so we were a little off balance with our shots,” Helgesen said. “We just weren’t getting set. If we made a few more shots, it would have been a different ballgame.”

Neither team got off to a fast start offensively, with the Falcons making just four field goals in the first ten minutes compared to one for the Pioneers. Defense and turnovers was the story early as the Falcons led 10-7 after one period.

The Falcons looked toward the outside shot to provide an offensive spark and got that briefly with a pair of Helgesen 3-pointers. That momentum was halted, however, due to UTPB getting in foul trouble late in the half.

Texas Woman’s was able to eventually capitalize with an 8-0 run in the last 1:30 to take a 27-19 lead into halftime.

The Pioneers extended the lead to 11 points entering the fourth quarter, while the Falcons were simply looking for the ball to go in the basket after shooting just 20.5 percent from the field through the first three quarters.

That changed in the fourth quarter when the Falcons were able to work the ball inside to Quaadman before she fouled out near the end of regulation.

UTPB outscored Texas Woman’s 21-10 in the fourth quarter to extend the game before the free throws proved to be the difference for the Pioneers salvaging the split in overtime.

“I thought we made some big shots at times,” Boothe said. “But we also didn’t get big stops. You really need to play both ends of the court to finish the game. Give all the credit to Texas Woman’s because they were able to do that. It’s just a tough way to lose a game.”