WARNER—Connors State made two defensive gems in the final 30 seconds of play to capture a stunning 66-63 Oklahoma Collegiate Conference victory over the Murray State Lady Aggies Thursday night at Melvin Self Field House.
The Cowgirls will now take a 19-11 season record and 6-10 OCAC mark into a Monday night encounter against Arkansas Baptist College in the league's play-in game at 5:30 p.m. at Melvin Self Field House to reach the Region II Women's Basketball Tournament at Oklahoma Baptist University next week.
"The two sophomores (Lauren Wright, De'Asia Reid) stepped up big for us tonight'" said Cowgirls Coach Jamie Fisher. "We hit some big shots at the right time.
"We just wanted it more than they did. We played for pride tonight on Sophomore Night. Our kids really competed and played hard. I was really proud of them," said Fisher.
A victory over the Bison would give the Cowgirls their first 20-win season since the 2011 season and a clash with top seed Redlands Community College, the OCAC regular season champion in the region tournament.
Trailing 60-58 with 3:47 remaining in the game, Lauren Wright, who finished with 16 points, drained a trey to put the Cowgirls on top 61-60.
Murray's Alaijah Stewart regained the lead for the Lady Aggies 63-60 with a 3-point bucket with 3:10 left. Then with 40 seconds left, Connors' Zee McCallister gave CSC a one-point lead.
Tateum Jones was fouled with 25 seconds left but she missed the front end of a one-and-one. On the rebound Reid, who finished with a double-double, grabbing 11 rebounds and leading the Cowgirls scoring with 25, put the ball back in the hoop for a 66-63 advantage.
Murray called a time-out with 16 ticks remaining setting the stage for a possible tie or win.
Connors defense stiffened denying Murray the win as the Cowgirls blocked two shots to take home the victory.
Behind the inside shooting and rebounding of Reid, the Cowgirls battled Murray to a stalemate at the half. The two clubs played to a 34-34 deadlock after the first 20 minutes of play.
Connors held a nine-point lead 34-25 with 3:03 remaining in the half, as the Cowgirls broke a 23-23 deadlock to outscore the Lady Aggies 10-2 over the next four-minutes of play.
However, Murray tied the half on a 3-point shot by Reeves, who banked a shot off the backboard with one-second on the clock.
CONNORS STATE 66, MURRAY STATE 63
Murray State 17 17 16 12--63
Connors State 18 16 11 21--66
Murray State (18-12, 9-7)—Stewart 15, Nascimento 12, Smith 10, Reeves 8, Kikkomen 6, Roberson 4, Classon 4, Smith 3, Hanson 1.
Connors State (19-11, 6-10)—Reid 24, La. Wright 16, Taylor 9, McCallister 6, Gonzalez 6, Livers 5.