By Chuck Livingston
The Evening Times Sports Editor
MSCC Sports Information
After a trying season, the MSCC Lady Greyhounds got to celebrate.
A pair of Victoria Broady free throws snapped a 71-71 tie with 3 seconds left on the clock and a steal in the backcourt gave MSCC a 73-71 win against North Arkansas, ranked #13 in the nation. The victory ensures that MSCC will host North Arkansas on February 28 at 2 p.m. for the region 2 championship game.
MSCC trailed 43-41 at halftime after North Arkansas connected on 6 of their 12 three-point attempts in the first half, but the Lady Greyhounds were able to limit the Lady Pioneers to a 2 of 8 showing from distance in the second half.
Broady led MSCC in scoring with her 14 points. The lanky sophomore also added 8 rebounds. Point guard Sasha Giles hit for 13 points, to go with her 10 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals. West Memphis native Kierra Adams scored 11 points and finished with 11 boards and Dominique Dillard hit for 10 points, while leading all boarders with 12 rebounds.
North Arkansas got a game-high 21 points from Kodee Powell, 16 from Kaitlyn Powell, 14 from Jordan Cottengim and an even 10 from Holland Craise.
"During 'winning time' I thought we played great," MSCC head coach Andy Stoglin said after the game. "Broady, I thought played awfully well. She hasn't been shooting well, but today she did, and she made those two big free throws. I don't think she made two free throws all year, she always seems to miss them."
"But she made them at the right time today."
North Arkansas was quicker out of the gates against MSCC as the Lady Greyhounds fell in love with the 3-point line early on and hit just 1 of their first 9 attempts from distance. In that span, the Lady Pioneers seized a 28-20 lead.
Rather than try and keep up with North Arkansas from bonus range, MSCC hit the offensive glass and pulled in 22 first-half rebounds with high-percentage looks in the paint.
Adams, facing a variety of double-teams, converted a pair of stickbacks after an offensive rebound, one being an old-fashioned three-point play, and MSCC had closed to within a single bucket at halftime, despite shooting 4 of 18 from three-point range in the first 20 minutes.
"I don't know how many points she (Adams) had, but our other girls stepped up tonight," Stoglin said. "Our defense, I thought was good, holding them to 70 points or so is good because they scored over 100 points last time. I thought we did a lot better job of finding their shooters today."
Finding those shooters proved to be instrumental to MSCC's second-half rally, as the Lady Greyhounds limited the Lady Pioneers to that 25-percent shooting figure after halftime.
A 10-2 MSCC run gave the Lady Greyhounds a 64-58 lead that would double as its largest advantage of the afternoon, but North Arkansas pushed ahead after a Cottengim jumper 71-67, with 1:35 on the clock.
Giles raced the length of the court to score a layup to bring MSCC within a basket and North Arkansas missed a runner that MSCC rebounded that led to an Adams layup that tied the game with 61 seconds remaining.
An MSCC defensive stop gave the Lady Greyhounds the ball back with about 36 seconds left on the clock. That possession saw a pair of misses from Adams and a miss from Broady before the latter was fouled with a follow-up shot.
The Lady Greyhounds are hosting Arkansas Baptist on Thursday night at 5 p.m., and the Lady Greyhound sophomores will be honored at halftime.