Above photo by Russell Marwitz
BELTON, Texas- UT-Dallas did all it could to slow the UMHB women’s basketball team Thursday night, including employing a full-court press for much of the contest. But the Crusaders, behind some late-game heroics from Arieona Rosborough and consistency from the free-throw line, pulled out a 79-68 overtime win in Belton.
Not only did it mark a key victory over a previously-undefeated conference foe, but it was also UMHB’s second consecutive win over a Top 25 opponent, as the Comets were ranked No. 18 by D3hoops.com entering Thursday’s contest. The Crusaders took down No. 14 Hardin-Simmons in Abilene on Dec. 11.
While the contest was decided in overtime, it was the final play of the fourth quarter that led to UMHB’s victory. Holding possession with just over three seconds to play, the Cru inbounded the ball, as Bethan McLeod found Arieona Rosborough, who drained an off-balance jumper as time expired, tying the game at 63, and sending it into overtime.
Over the additional five-minute period, UMHB outscored UTD 16-5, converting on three-of-seven attempts. The Crusaders were also nine-of-10 from the free throw line in overtime, as the Comets were forced to intentionally foul as the clock wound down in an attempt to regain possession.
Kasey Jo Hinton gave UMHB the lead 49 seconds into the overtime period, connecting on her only made three-pointer of the evening. Aja Holmes added a pair of free throws to widen the margin to five, before UTD’s Paris Kiser put the Comets back in the fight with a three-pointer, making the score 68-66 in favor of the Cru. But three straight free throws from Rosborough, along with a short-range jumper as the shot clock expired from Alexia Martin, proved to be enough to keep UMHB in front for the final 1:49.
For as well as UMHB finished the victory, it was UTD who posted the better start. A Kiser three were the first points of the night for either team, 1:49 into the opening quarter, and the visiting Comets took a 5-0 advantage early. However, Mark Morefield’s Crusaders pulled right back, as the lead changed hands four times over the first 10 minutes, with the opponents locked in a 16-16 tie entering the second quarter.
Though the Cru shot 50 percent from the field in the second, UTD took a 30-28 lead into halftime, using an 8-0 run midway through the quarter to cut down UMHB’s six-point advantage.
The third quarter saw much of the same, with the two opponents trading shots, and UMHB holding a 46-43 lead. The intensity of the contest was increased over the final 10 minutes of regulation, as UTD attempted to pull away, piecing together a 8-0 run, which included six points from Kiser. That gave the Comets a 57-49 lead with just 3:33 remaining, but the Crusaders mounted a 10-4 run to pull within two points as the clock ticked under a minute. A Bethany McLeod three-pointer was critical in that run, as she converted on a shot from behind the arc with 59 seconds left.
Two free throws from Kiser made it a two-possession game, but consecutive jumpers from Rosborough were enough to tie the score as the buzzer sounded, sending the game into overtime, where UMHB earned the win.
McLeod led the Cru with 19 points, while Kaitlyn Kollmorgen tallied a team-high 11 rebounds. Both Rosborough (14 points) and Ashley Faux (10 points) finished in double figures in scoring.
The Cru prepares to face LeTourneau on Saturday at 1 p.m. CT in Belton. The Yellow Jackets fell to No. 17 ETBU 75-63 on Thursday night.