The win also marks WT's 30th victory in conference competitions, a streak that began during the 2005-06 season. Lee, the reigning LSC South Player of the Week, finished with 16 points, three rebounds and two steals in WT's victory. "The plan was to automatically look for Emily when I got the ball, but she was covered," Lee said. "I figured I could beat the girl who was covering me and luckily I did, so I had a wide-open shot. I figured if I got it in the air, I'd have a pretty good shot at making it. I'm just glad I got the shot off in time."
Joining Lee in double figure point totals were junior Emily Brister, who recorded a team-high 21 points in addition to a team-high eight rebounds, and freshman Joni Unruh, who finished with 11 points in addition to five rebounds and three steals. Also, Brister finished the game shooting 9-of-10 free throw attempts to end her consecutive made free throw streak at 34, a run that began during the second half of the game against Southeastern Oklahoma on Jan. 3.
WT's biggest lead in the first half was three, 20-17 at the 8:00 mark, but the TexAnns fought back to enter halftime with a 35-31 advantage. In the second half, TSU went on a 23-12 run that put the TexAnns up by a 58-43 margin with 11:09 to play. But the Lady Buffs were not to be deterred as they battled back to pull within five points on a three-pointer from junior Jamie Dreiling with 5:52 on the clock. "When it was 60-45 at that media timeout, we talked about cutting it in half at the next media time out," said head coach Krista Gerlich. "Sure enough, at the next media timeout, [Tarleton State's] lead was only seven." With 2:29 left in the game Lee hit a jumper to pull within two, and less than a minute later, TSU's Kendal Reddell turned the ball over which allowed Brister to sink a jumper that tied the game at 70-70.
However, Tarleton State benefited form a lay-up by Sonya Sundberg to go back ahead, 72-70, with just over one minute to play and Gerlich called a timeout. Out of the break, Brister was fouled and she sank both free throws to tie the game at 72-72 with 55 seconds on the clock. Sundberg committed another turnover on TSU's ensuing possession, giving the ball back to WT with 28 seconds to play.
The Lady Buffs ran their offensive but could not find an opening, prompting Gerlich to call a timeout with 9.18 on the clock. After the timeout, WT could not make anything happen and Gerlich called a final timeout with just 3.86 seconds to play. Brister inbounded the ball but it got away from Chelsea Blackshear in the backcourt; Sundberg almost got her hands on the ball but senior Jenessa McKray made a nice move that bounced the ball out of bounds off of Sundberg. On the last inbounds play, junior Dixie Bell found Lee who sank the game-winner just as the clock wound down, giving the Lady Buffs their eight straight victory.
"Everybody did their job at the end of the game," said Gerlich. "They went out there and didn't quit - they refused to lose. Chelsea did a nice job getting bumped and not losing the ball, Jensesa did a nice job keeping it alive, and Dixie did a nice job with three seconds left and not trying to force anything. "Tarleton handled our pressure very well for 38 minutes but they struggled in the last two minutes and that all on our kids. Every single game I sthe most important one, and our kids get that."
The Lady Buffs are next in action on Jan. 30 as they travel to Kingsville, Texas, to face off against Texas A&M-Kingsville with a 6 p.m. start time.
ARTICLE COURTESY: www.gobuffsgo.com