Despite having to make a road trip to Kirksville, Mo., being the lower seed at No. 11, the University of Indianapolis women’s basketball team defeated the No. 6 seeded Truman State University Bulldogs in the first round of the Great Lakes Valley Conference Basketball Championship Tournament by a lopsided score of 72-51.
After the game remained close early on, the Greyhounds took command of the contest at the 5:22 mark in the first half, following a good layup by junior guard Princess German that put UIndy up by four points. From that moment, the Greyhounds added 16 more points to go on an 18-0 run all the way until halftime. The Greyhounds maintained their statistical dominance throughout the second half.
Before taking on Truman State in the first round of the conference tournament, UIndy took on the Saint Joseph’s College Pumas on Feb. 27 to close out its regular season and honor its seniors on Senior Night. UIndy earned a victory following three overtimes, which marked the first back-to-back overtime games for the program since the 1999-2000 season, after the Greyhounds lost to Bellarmine University the weekend before in double overtime 80-77. Head Women’s Basketball Coach Constantin Popa said he was pleased with the team’s performance against Saint Joseph’s.
“We played all the way to the last second [of the game]. We played really hard, and I’m really proud of the way we [the team] played,” Popa said.
The women played an extra 900 seconds of overtime to earn the win. The first overtime was initiated when sophomore forward Nicole Anderson fouled the Pumas’ redshirt junior guard Lauren Davis with 1:23 left on the clock. Davis made both of her free throws, tying the game 63-63, which would remain the score for the remainder of regulation. For the rest of regulation, UIndy was in control of the ball, up until the last two seconds, but failed to capitalize. With the remaining two seconds, the Pumas had the ball but were unable to make anything happen as well, pushing the game into overtime.
In the first overtime, the Greyhounds fell silent for around a minute, which allowed Saint Joseph’s to take the lead when Davis sank a 3-pointer. Freshman guard Sarah Costello responded and was the first to put UIndy on the board in the first overtime with a layup that made the score 66-65. UIndy continued to trail throughout the rest of the first overtime until they finally tied the score after senior guard Kelly Walter made a fast break layup inside the last second reaming.
In the second overtime, the women trailed Saint Joseph’s again after the Pumas got the lead after 20 seconds with a layup that put the Pumas up 73-71. A few minutes later, freshman forward Ashley Montanez added a layup for the Greyhounds, with 1:46 left on the clock, which put UIndy within two points, 75-73. In the next 46 seconds, Walter tied the game with a layup, taking the game into its third overtime period.
After trailing through most of the first two overtimes, UIndy finally was able to take the lead in the third overtime. Freshman guard Devin Ferguson fouled Saint Joseph’s Davis in the first minute and a half, but Davis would only make one free throw bringing the score to 76-75 with Saint Joseph’s leading. From there, it was all UIndy. Walter responded to the free throw with a shot from behind the arc, putting UIndy up 78-76. Then Costello scored four more points for the Greyhounds in the last minute and a half. After Costello’s final jumper of the game, Saint Joseph’s junior guard Courtney Kvachkoff hit a 3-pointer to bring the game within one point, 82-81, with 40 seconds left on the clock.
In the last 40 seconds, both teams missed shots and four 30-second timeouts were called. In the end, the Greyhounds held on for the victory.
Despite having an uncharacteristic rollercoaster season of wins and losses, Popa said that his young roster has done well showing resilience.
“Obviously we’ve been up and down this season. It’s not easy to keep staying positive and to keep pushing through and fight,” he said. “We fought again, and I mean it took us three overtimes. It is what it is, and we won the game. That’s the bottom line.”
Overall, Walter led the Greyhounds in scoring with 26 points, while Anderson and Costello joined her in double-digit scoring with 20 and 17 of their own. Anderson also added nine assists, placing her one short of a double-double. Senior guard Carly Lythjohan also aided the team in its victory with 10 assists.
“It was good to get a win, since we just came back from Bellarmine and had a double-overtime loss there. It was good to finally get a win after the triple OT,” Anderson said. “Hopefully, we can keep our team chemistry up and stuff. We’re starting to play well together, so hopefully we can make it far in the conference.”
UIndy will compete this Friday at The Family Arena in St. Charles, Mo., against the No. 1 seeded Drury University Panthers. Action is set to begin at 2:30 p.m. CST.