Lady Broncos Hang on in Overtime

Sunday night in front of a modest but vocal and enthusiastic crowd of 1,424 the Western Michigan University Broncos women's basketball team withstood a tough University of North Carolina Charlotte 49ers team to hold on for an 85-83 overtime victory. The win ensured the Broncos a spot in the Elite 8 of the Women's National Invitational Tournament as well as the right to host another home game.

Early on it looked as if the Broncos were going to run away with an easy victory with an 8-2 run to start the game but the 49ers kept pressing and picked up their physical style of play. Despite starting guard Casey Rost being sidelined with a knee injury the Broncos were able to get solid performances out of Carrie Moore, Lori Crisman, Kelly Koerber, Kim Driggett and of course Maria Jillian.

Jillian was the target of a lot of double teams and found herself taking elbows and hits to the head as well as being pushed to the floor without any fouls being called. Four Broncos finished the game in double figures in scoring with Moore having a game high of 24 points. Jillian finished with 4 steals, 6 assists and 11 points.

Crisman was her usual-self leaving everything she had on the floor or in the air. Late in the game she jumped as high as she has ever jumped to get a rebound not wanting her final season to end just yet. According to Head Coach Ron Stewart that is the highest he has ever seen her jump. One thing was evident; she has the height to dunk if she ever chooses to. She also scored the game-winning bucket with 18 seconds left in overtime to give the Broncos the victory. Crisman finished the game with a double double. Twelve of her 20 points came from the charity stripe where she shot 12-16 but wasn't too happy when she realized she missed 4 free throws. She added a game-high 10-rebounds (4 offensive, 6 defensive), 2 blocked shots and a game-high with 6 steals.

Kelly Koerber pitched in with 19 points hitting 8 out of her 10 field goal attempts. Kim Driggett struggled offensively scoring just 7 points but she contributed with a strong showing on defense and an outlet for Jillian and Moore to pass the ball to when they were being double-teamed.

The 49ers actually had a 2-0 lead to start the game but they never saw the lead again until the overtime session. With 18 seconds left in regulation Monica League sent the game into overtime with two of her 4 points. Thirteen seconds into the overtime League assisted on a basket by LaShanta Johnson to give the 49ers the short lived lead for the first time since the start of the game.

The 49ers were led by Leslie Cook who got hot in the second half from behind the three-point line, Cook finished with 19 points all of which came from 3-point range hitting 6 of her 13 shot attempts from behind the arc. Down low in the post the 49ers were led by Pam Brown whose main task was to stay with Crisman. Brown finished with 17 points and 6 rebounds. League had a game-high 10-assists while Sakellie Daniels and Andrea Davidson both contributed 14 points. Davidson also fouled out late in the game.

As a team the Broncos led the 49ers for the game in shooting from the field and from the free throw line but the 49ers were able to make up the difference from three-point range. The Broncos shot 48.3% from the field and 75.8% from the charity stripe while the 49ers shot 43.6% and 71.4% respectively. From behind the arc the 49ers shot 35.7% while the Broncos shot only 26.7%.

The Broncos return to action on Wednesday night when they host the Richmond Spiders in the quarterfinals of the WNIT. Tip-off is schedule for 7:00pm at University Arena.

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