Feb. 11, 2010
(HAYS, Kan.) – Freshman Becka McHenry orchestrated the Truman women’s basketball team’s biggest comeback of the season, scoring eight of the team’s final ten points, as the Bulldogs came from behind late in the second half to stun the Fort Hays State Tigers, 63-61, on Thursday night in front of nearly 2,500 fans inside Gross Memorial Coliseum.
The Truman (8-15, 3-13 MIAA) defense was stellar in the game’s waning minutes, holding the Tiger (15-7, 8-7) offense to just five points in the final 9:47 to become only the second team all season to win in Hays. The win was also Truman’s first MIAA road victory of the season and marked the first in conference play in nearly a year.
Despite falling behind by as many as seven points early on, the Bulldogs stayed with the Tigers all night, scoring four quick points right before the intermission to pull to within five, 35-30, at the half.
But FHSU looked like they were set to hit cruise control, leading 51-39 with 13:08 to play, before McHenry (Fraser, Mich.; Fraser HS) and sophomore Breanna Daniels (Ridgedale, Mo.; Hollister) took over. The duo combined for 18 of Truman’s final 24 points, with Daniels burying a pair of key triples before McHenry delivered the knockout punch by slicing the basket on three straight possessions to give the Bulldogs a 63-61 lead with 45 seconds on the clock.
The Bulldogs forced a stop on Fort Hays’ next possession, but missed the front end of a one-and-one with 22 seconds remaining to open the door for the Tigers. Freshman Megan Sharpe (Edwardsville, Ill.; Edwardsville HS) committed a foul on the Tigers’ top scorer on the night, Erica Biel, with 12 seconds left, but she too missed the front end of a one-and-one. Sharpe corralled the rebound and was immediately fouled, getting sent to the other end of the floor for her chance at the line.
But Sharpe’s free throw rimmed out, giving the Tigers another chance, which they promptly gave right back as Biel’s outlet pass skimmed off the hands of Naomi Bancroft and into the seats with seven seconds to play.
A Bulldog turnover on the in-bound gave the ball back to Fort Hays, and, following a timeout, Biel found herself wide open underneath the basket but blew the lay-up, allowing the clock to run out and give Truman the road victory.
Truman got to loose balls all night and handled the Tigers on the glass, winning the rebounding battle, 43-35. And despite the late game struggles, the Bulldogs lived up to their billing as the conference’s top free throw shooting squad, hitting 15-of-17 charity stripe chances on the night, with six different players sinking at least a pair.
Daniels led all Bulldogs with 19 points and hit a trio of three-pointers in passing 500 career points, while McHenry set a new career-high with 14 points (10 coming in the second half) on 6-of-9 shooting. Junior Cassie Hunt (Richmond, Mo.; Richmond HS) came off the bench to score nine points in nine minutes, while both of the Bulldogs’ starting forwards – Sharpe and senior Sarah Seberger (Geneva, Ill.; Montini Catholic) – logged seven rebounds. Junior guard Amy Galey (Excelsior Springs, Mo.; Excelsior Springs HS) failed to score but did pull down five rebounds and dished out four helpers, with senior guard Laura Joya (Wheeling, Ill.; Wheeling) adding a solid six and six off the bench in 28 minutes.
The 12-point deficit was the largest overcome in a Bulldog victory this season, as Truman’s defense limited FHSU to just a 30% clip in the second half. Bancroft, the conference’s second-leading scorer entering the night, scored just nine points, marking the first time this season she was held below double-figures by the opposition.
Truman shot 40% (22-for-55) from the field for the game and went 4-for-13 (31%) from long-range. Meanwhile, FHSU shot just 35% (22-for-63) and hit only 20% (4-for-20) of its three-point chances. Biel led all scorers with 22 points and added five blocks.
After extending its MIAA tournament life for at least one more game, the road trip continues for the Truman women’s basketball squad, as the Bulldogs travel to Omaha, Neb., for a Saturday afternoon matchup with the UNO Mavericks. Tip-time from the Sapp Fieldhouse is set for 1:30 p.m.