For the fourth time this season victory escaped the grasp of the Barton Community College women’s basketball team as the Lady Cougars dropped a heart breaking 58-56 defeat Saturday to Cowley College at the Barton Gym. Leading by one with seventy-eight seconds, the Lady Cougars went scoreless the rest of game committing a costly turnover and foul down the stretch in suffering its second conference loss in three games with victory within reach in the closing moment of play. The loss drops Barton to 0-3 in Jayhawk play and 8-6 on the season going into the holiday break while Cowley remains unbeaten in conference play improving to 4-0 and 13-2 on the season. The Lady Cougars’ next game will come Saturday, January 2, at Allen County Community College with its next home game coming Wednesday, January 6, hosting Independence Community College.
An early trey from Alexus Bryson and a pair of long balls each from Regan Unruh and Keneisha Unruh helped get the Lady Cougars out to a 19-10 in the first eight minutes of the contest. Barton would go scoreless the final two minutes as Cowley closed the quarter on a 4-0 run cutting the deficit to five.
Free throws by Kilee Harris and Megan Jirak and a Jirak inside bucket increased the lead out to eleven less than two minutes into the second frame. Having trouble closing out the quarter, Barton went on another scoreless stretch, this time for the final 6:16 allowing the Tigers back in it with an 8-0 run cutting the Lady Cougars’ lead to 25-22 at the halftime intermission.
The Lady Tigers continued the momentum in the second half with the first four points grabbing its first lead of the game at 26-25 just 1:04 out of the locker room. Stopping a nearly eight minute scoring drought, Unruh reclaimed the lead burying the freshman’s third three-pointer of the game. The teams flip flopped leads for most of the remaining part of the quarter before Bridget Mimmo’s pair of free throws trumped Bryson’s 1-for-2 trip to the line giving the Lady Tiger’s a one point 39-38 edge to the fourth.
A Mimmo and Devon Branch trey aided by a Grace Diaz-Brito jumper offset a Jirak free throw and Harris trey as Cowley built its largest lead of the game at five holding a 47-42 advantage with 7:18 to play. The lead held at five until Bryson buried one of ten Barton three-pointers in the game getting the Lady Cougars to within two with just under four minutes to play.
With the deficit at three, Jalisa Jones would score her first and only bucket of the game and following a steal by Harris, Winfrey game Barton its final lead and point on a transit basket. A Cowley turnover would put Barton in the driver’s seat but despite a team offensive rebound on a blocked shot and getting a shot clock reset on a Lady Tiger foul, Barton would not get the shot it needed as Winfrey had her three-point shot rejected by Mimmo. With no timeouts remaining in the game the Tigers quickly worked it up the court as Madi Greenwood would get fouled on the potential go-ahead layup with 19.3 seconds to play.
A lane violation would wipe off Greenwood’s first attempt but the Derby sophomore would swish the second one to tie it up at 56. Working the ball along the perimeter, Bryson found a seam but was cut off by a solid Cowley defense forcing Bryson’s kick-off pass to be deflected by Greenwood into the hands of Diaz-Brito. Trying to wrestle the ball out of the 6’2″ Spaniard freshman’s hands, Bryson was called for a foul sending Diaz-Brito to the charity stripe with only 1.6 seconds on the clock. Having made 2-of-4 from the stripe earlier in the game, Diaz-Brito buried a couple of daggers as Winfrey’s desperation heave from half court was too late.
Jirak led three Lady Cougars in double-digits despite fouling out with 3:08 to play scoring thirteen points and grabbing nine rebounds to just miss the Marion freshman’s seventh of the season. Harris added twelve to reach double-digits for only the second time in the last six games while Winfrey reached double figures for the second straight game scoring eleven.
Diaz-Brito’s double-double fourteen points and thirteen rebounds to go along with four assists led the Lady Tigers with Mimmo also finishing with fourteen points grabbing seven rebounds helping Cowley to a five rebound edge for the night while also leading the team with four steals. Going 5-of-14 from the floor including 1-of-8 from behind the arc, Greenwood finished with twelve to round out the team’s double-digit scorers.
Despite a dismal 32% shooting from the floor in the first half, the Lady Cougars had a strong second half 44% shooting night to finish at 38% but only capitalized on eight of the fourteen trips to the charity stripe for only 57%.