Cougars End Stellar Season in Loss to Sinclair
The ICC women’s basketball team’s season came to an end as they lost 81-77 to Sinclair Community College in the consolation bracket of the National Tournament in Harrison, Arkansas on Friday (March 22) afternoon.
The Cougars had their chances in this one, but the Tartans made a couple more plays down the stretch to close out the 2018-2019 Cougar campaign.
Summer Stoewer started off the scoring with two 3-pointers, with assists from Kathy Pinnock-Branford, to help ICC keep pace. SCC went on a run to open a 15-8 lead, but baskets by Marquitta Easley, Moriah Ward and Emma Henderson, with assists by Josi Becker, helped the Cougars draw to within 19-15 after the first period.
Pinnock-Branford took a charge on the opening possession followed by a Madison Faulkner basket, assisted by Abby Coates, and another Stoewer trey to give ICC some momentum, but the Tartans went on another run to open up a 28-21 lead midway through the period. The Cougars went on a 9-2 run as Easley and Ward scored and then drew even at 39-all after an Easley three to head into the halftime break.
The Cougars forced a five-second violation to open the half which sparked a 10-0 run as Stoewer nailed two 3-pointers and Coates added four points to go up 49-39 at the 7:57 mark. SCC got on track offensively but the Cougars continued to find ways to score as Henderson and Easley each drained 3-pointers, with assists by KPB and Faulkner.
Faulkner kept the scoring alive as she hit two baseline jumpers, with assists by Becker, while Becker added a score and Stoewer splashed in another 3-pointer to give ICC their biggest lead at 64-51. However, the Cougars turned the ball over on four of their next five possessions which narrowed the lead to 63-57 heading into the fourth.
Sinclair went on a 5-0 run to start the fourth as the turnover problems continued, but a Henderson trey kept the Cougars up 66-62. Easley added an old-fashioned 3-point play followed by a Coates’ score and a Faulkner basket as ICC held a 73-70 lead with 2:32 to play. Henderson hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give ICC a 76-72 lead with 1:50 left but then the Cougars missed two free throws and then fouled on the next defensive possession.
SCC made one free throw to trim the ICC lead to 76-73 with 1:01 left and as the Cougars ran a possession, one of the Cougars was tripped and lost the ball but no foul was called, and the Tartans hit a 3-pointer on the next possession to knot the score at 76-all. The Blue & Gold came up empty on their next possession and the Cougar defense was ready to lock down, but they were called for a foul on a ball screen and Sinclair made both free throws to take a 78-76 lead with 4.4 seconds left.
ICC ran a sideline out-of-bounds play and was fouled on the shot, but made only 1 of 2 free throws to close to within 78-77. The Cougars fouled immediately and SCC made both free throws to go up 80-77 and ICC had a chance to inbound for a tying 3-pointer but the ball went out of bounds and Sinclair hit one free throw for the final margin.
Final stats showed the Cougars shooting well from the field at 48 percent for the game, including 11-21 from three-point range, but they only managed to go 8-20 from the free throw line which was the difference in the game.
Faulkner (8 pts, 6 reb) Stoewer (16 pts, 5 reb) Pinnock-Branford (3 reb, 3 asts, 2 pts) Coates (11 pts, 5 reb) Easley (15 pts, 5 asts) Becker (7 asts, 4 reb, 2 pts) Ward (11 pts, 7 reb) Henderson (12 pts, 2 blks)