(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) – The No. 16 Jennies needed an extra five minutes to earn a thrilling 74-71 come-from-behind victory Wednesday over the Missouri Western Griffons in front of the largest crowd of the season packing the Multipurpose Building for Blackout Night.
The Jens overcame an eight-point deficit with just 3:20 remaining in regulation to force overtime.
The Jennies (14-2, 6-2 MIAA) jumped out to one of their best starts in the opening minutes of any game this season, scoring the first seven points en route to a 12-1 advantage in the first three minutes.
The Griffons (12-5, 5-4 MIAA) chipped away at the lead over the next few minutes, using an 11-2 run to pull within two points at 11:54 in the first half.
Highlighted by seven quick points from Brielle Wattley, the Jennies used a 9-2 run in the closing minutes of the first half to take a large lead again. Wattley finished with 11 points in the first half, and tied her career high with 13 points in the game.
Central Missouri went into the break with a 33-24 lead, but that advantage quickly evaporated as the Griffons opened the second half with a 17-4 run. Missouri Western claimed its first lead of the night with a layup from KC Clouser at the 15:00 mark of the second half.
BreAnna Lewis started the comeback with a pair of free throws, closing the Missouri Western lead to 62-56 with 3:02 to play. After a Griffon turnover, Nicole Caddell hit the following layup to make it a four-point game with 2:10 on the clock.
After another defensive stop by the Jennies, which included one of Caddell’s two blocks on the night, Flax hit one of two free throws to inch even closer.
Caddell moves into sole possession of fourth place on UCM’s all-time blocked shots list, with 93. She passes Kamala Sherman (1991-93) and Tammy Wilson (1985-89) with her performance Wednesday night.
Flax gave the Jens their first lead in nearly 15 minutes with her layup with 34 seconds remaining, as UCM inched ahead 63-62. Missouri Western’s Lanicia Lawrence drew a foul a few seconds later and hit one of two free throws to tie the game. The Jens missed the potential game-winner in regulation, before heading to the extra session.
After giving them a quick lead in the closing seconds, Flax put the Jens ahead again in overtime, completing the three-point play with 4:32 remaining.
The Griffons answered with a trey to immediately tie it back up, until Flax hit a pair of free throws after drawing another foul.
Missouri Western kept things close, answering every Jennies field goal with one of their own. With UCM ahead 73-71, Missouri Western had its final shot to pull even with 10 seconds remaining, but a missed layup and the defensive board from Caddell closed out the narrow win.
Flax led the Jennies with 22 points, recording her sixth 20-point game in just her ninth appearance with the Jens. The junior also pulled down 10 rebounds, earning her second career double-double. BreAnna Lewis finished with 19 points and matched her career high with six boards.
Caddell tallied eight points on the night, as the senior from Tuscaloosa, Ala., closes in on 1,000 career points at UCM. Caddell now has 976 points in her three-year career.
The Jennies are back in action Saturday afternoon, when they host Northwest Missouri in the Multipurpose Building. There will also be a Jennies basketball alumni game starting at 11 a.m., which will be free to the public.