(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) — The UCM Jennies outscored Southwest Baptist 7-3 over the final minute to come back from a narrow deficit, beating the Bearcats 69-66 in the Multipurpose Building Wednesday night.
SBU held a 63-62 advantage with 1:08 to play, before a pivotal three-pointer from BreAnna Lewis, followed by some clutch free throw shooting to pull out the victory.
The win gives the Jennies a 10-1 record as they improve to 2-1 in MIAA play. The Jens 10-1 start matches the best during the Dave Slifer era, when his team went 10-1 in the first 11 games of 2004-05, his first season in Warrensburg.
Junior Keuna Flax led all scorers with 29 points, setting a new career high in the win. Flax increases her season average to 24.8 points per game, and has reached the 20-point mark in three of her four games since joining the Jennies.
A total of 14 lead changes occurred throughout the game, more than any other matchup for the Jens this season. UCM started out with a 5-2 edge after Quinnecia Twine‘s three-pointer, before SBU took its first lead of the game with a trey of its own, going up 13-12 at the 11:41 mark of the first half. Both sides traded leads back and forth four times over the final four minutes of the first half, before the Bearcats used a short 5-0 run to go ahead at the break, 31-27.
The Jennies’ four-point halftime deficit was wiped away within the first 34 seconds of the second half. Lewis knocked down two of three free throws after drawing a foul on a three-point attempt before Nicole Caddell swiped one of her four steals in the game, leading to a jumper from Flax to tie the score at 31-31. The Jens were still unable to gain a lead until a few minutes later, when Twine’s jumper highlighted a 7-0 run for the Jens, who then led 38-33 with 16:16 to play.
UCM was able to hold off the Bearcats until seven straight points put SBU on top 57-55 with 5:16 to play. The Jennies came back to earn a one-point edge with a pair of free throws from Keuna Flax. SBU responded with a jump shot to edge out in front again. Flax earned another trip to the line on the next possession, knocking down two more free throws to go ahead 60-59 with 3:42 to play.
The Bearcats made one last push, scoring four straight points to take a 63-62 lead with 1:08 to play. With the shot clock running down, Lewis hit a three-pointer that put the Jens up for good, 65-63 with just 42 seconds remaining.
Flax grabbed the steal following the SBU timeout, and then calmly hit two free throws to make it a two-possession game with 26 seconds to go. SBU’s Chasity Prince hit a trey to cut the lead to one, but Flax again iced the game with two more from the charity stripe, as the desperation shot at the buzzer from the Bearcats was off the mark.
Flax collected nearly half her points from the free-throw line, shooting a perfect 13-for-13 on the night. She now leads the team, shooting 86.8 from the line on the year. Caddell finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, narrowly missing out on what would have been her fifth double-double of the season. Lewis also finished in double figures, with 13 points.
The Jennies will take the weekend off before hosting MIAA newcomers Northeastern State Wednesday, Jan. 9.