(TOPEKA, Kan.) – A late push brought them within one point, but time ran out as the 2nd-seeded Central Missouri Jennies were upset by the 7th-seeded Southwestern Oklahoma State Bulldogs, 73-71, in the first round of the NCAA Central Regional Tournament at Washburn University.
Junior Keuna Flax led the Jennies with 22 points, while senior forward Nicole Caddell finishes her UCM career with 12 points and a career-high 17 rebounds in her final game.
The Jennies (24-6) took the first lead of the day with Keuna Flax’s floater down the middle of the lane to open up the game. After SWOSU answered with a 7-2 run, BreAnna Lewis quickly tied it back up at 7-7 with a three at the 17:12 mark.
The Bulldogs answered right back with a trey of their own, reclaiming the lead. Caddell pushed the Jens back in front with a layup at the 12:41 mark, giving UCM a 14-13 edge, as the Jens controlled the lead through most of the way until halftime.
As Symone Murray’s score gave the Jens a 26-23 edge with 3:42 to play, SWOSU answered with eight straight points to grab a lead before the half. Flax knocked down a trey in the closing seconds to pull back within two points, as the Bulldogs went into the break ahead 31-29. The Haltom City, Tex. native was in double-figures before halftime, scoring 11 of her 22 points in the first period.
Flax immediately tied the game on the first score of the second half at 31-31, but the Bulldogs would answer and lead the rest of the way, building as high as a 15-point advantage with just 4:12 to play. The Jennies chipped away, closing to within six points with a BreAnna Lewis trey in the final minute, making it a 71-65 Bulldog lead with 45 seconds remaining. The Jens forced a turnover, allowing Lewis to answer again, making it a one-possession game with 37 seconds on the clock.
A pair of SWOSU free throws stretched the lead to 73-68, before Lewis hit her third straight trey with 10 seconds to go. After a missed free throw from the Bulldogs, Caddell pulled down the rebound, but the Jens could not get a final shot off as time expired.
The Jennies wrap up the 2012-13 season with a 24-6 record, the most wins since the 1989-90 season, and the most wins in conference play in the Dave Slifer era.