Kokomo, IN: Senior guard Kayla Wilson swished two pressure free throws with 29 seconds remaining to lift the Alice Lloyd College Lady Eagles to a thrilling 85-84 overtime victory over the home standing Indiana University Kokomo Lady Cougars on Saturday afternoon.
In the opening quarter, ALC came out tight and the hosts took advantage. IUK led 10-6 at the 5:45 mark before senior guard Miranda Wilson and center Alexandria Clifton would settle Alice Lloyd down. The duo combined to score 13 consecutive points to spark their club, and the visitors would lead 21-15 at the horn.
In the second stanza, the Lady Eagles would quickly increase their lead to nine (26-17). At this point, Kokomo would respond. The Lady Cougars, who are highly regarded and receiving NAIA top 25 votes, tightened up the screws on the defensive end and closed the half on a 20-10 spurt. They would use that momentum to take a 37-36 advantage into intermission.
As the third period began, IUK would creep ahead by five (46-41) only to watch the Lady Eagles battle right back once again on an 8-0 run of their own, to pull ahead 49-46. When Lady Cougar Tabitha Dewitt sank a rebound bucket with .03 remaining, Kokomo would cling to their one-point advantage entering the last period of play.
In the final quarter, the fans were treated to a show. The two evenly matched clubs would battle tooth-and-nail as neither refused to back down. The two combatants traded buckets before the hosts took a 70-68 lead with 2:53 remaining. However, Lady Eagle Miranda Wilson would sink a 15-foot bucket at 2:30 to knot things up, and then steal the ball on the next possession and feed freshman Haley Hall for a layup. The turn of events would give ALC a 72-70 cushion with 2:10 remaining.
After nearly two minutes of scoreless play, Cougar leading scorer Deja Felder was fouled with .13 showing. She missed the first attempt but sank the second to reduce the deficit to one (72-71). Forced to foul, Felder put Alice Lloyds Clifton on the line at .06. The strategy worked as the freshman missed both attempts. After a timeout, “Miss Clutch” Kayla Wilson would steal the inbounds pass and be fouled with .02. Wilson coolly sank both free throws to put the Lady Eagles ahead 74-71, and victory seemed assured. On the inbounds play, Kokomo’s Felder took the long pass and attempted a three-point shot at the buzzer for the tie. The attempt missed, but incredibly, Lady Eagle junior guard Courtney Vazquez was whistled for a foul. To her credit, the Cougars leading scorer would drain all three attempts, and the game went to a five minute overtime tied at 74.
With the gymnasium echoing with excitement and the momentum against them, Alice Lloyd would regroup. First, Kayla Wilson would sink a bucket, only to watch Felder’s bomb put her club ahead again (77-76). Kayla would then drain a triple of her own on the next play before Felder once again connected to even things at 79 with 3:52 left. The Indiana guard would sink three more charity tosses over the next two minutes, and IUK would hold an 84-81 advantage with just 1:06 remaining.
At this point, ALC guard Hall was fouled and drilled two huge free throws to slice the deficit to one (84-83). Kokomo would then lose the ball on their next possession and Miranda Wilson would attempt a shot to give her team the lead at .32. The shot bounced off, but twin sister Kayla snuck in to snare the rebound and was hacked with only .29 on the scoreboard. With the crowd against her, the Corbin native calmly swished both attempts, and Alice Lloyd led 85-84,
Every single person in attendance was on their feet, and each of them knew Kokomo’s Felder would take the big shot. Fortunately, the ALC defense was tough and her contested attempt bounced off the rim. IUK guard Abby Scott snagged the long rebound, but her trifecta at the buzzer was off the mark, and the girls from Caney celebrated the hard-fought victory.
For Alice Lloyd (7-1; 2-0 RSC), the Wilson sisters came up huge for their club. Kayla tied for game-high honors with 25 points, including a perfect 10-10 from the charity stripe. She would add 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals to her impressive performance. Miranda showed why she is one of the most versatile guards anywhere as the senior tossed in 19 points, snagged 10 rebounds, dished out 7 assists, and added 6 steals. Clifton played well also as she chipped in with 16 points and added 3 blocks. The entire squad played their hearts out as the win was truly a team effort.
IUK (5-3; 1-1 RSC) was led by the gutsy Felder with 25 points.
Alice Lloyd finished shooting 36.3% (29-80) from the field and 31% (9-29) from deep while connecting on 81.8% (18-22) from the foul line. They also added 44 rebounds, 15 assists, and 13 steals. The victors did have fewer turnovers (23-15) which played a big role in such a tight contest.
Kokomo finished shooting 40.5% (32-79) from the floor and 4-20 (20%) from behind the arc. They shot 76.2% (16-21) from the foul line. They also added 56 rebound, 14 assists, and 10 steals.
ALC returns to action this Saturday when they journey to Owensboro, Kentucky, on December 8th to battle conference opponent Brescia University at 1:00 pm central. They then return home on Tuesday, December 12th for a big conference showdown with the Indiana University-Southeast Lady Grenadiers at 2:00 pm.