Photo by Rwanda Tu’a
After being down by 15 points with less than five minutes left, all signs seemed to have pointed to Sam Houston Bearkat women’s basketball season ending.
But a switch was turned on as they came back and defeated the Abilene Christian Wildcats in stunning fashion 82-81 to advance to the second round.
Redshirt sophomore Mikayla Woods pulled off her own impression of Tracy McGrady as she scored nine points in the last 37 seconds of the game.
She hit two straight 3-pointers.
After her second one got the Kats within one point, the Wildcats drove down the court quickly.
Graduate guard Madi Miller then got fouled with nine seconds left.
She made the first one but missed the second. Sophomore transfer guard Mikayla Eddins got the rebound.
Eddins then gave it to Woods who drove inside hard and got fouled on the layup as the ball rolled into the bucket.
81-81 it was then.
Woods went to the line to put the Bearkats ahead and she did just that.
Buzzer sounded and the comeback was complete.
It was Sam Houston’s first lead in the game since redshirt junior Kaylee Jefferson hit a 3-pointer with eight minutes left in the first quarter.
In the end though, the last lead mattered.
The hero of the afternoon Woods was struggling when the regular season ended.
But Bearkat head coach Ravon Justice believed in her.
“I just pulled her to the side and say it’s your shining moment,” Justice said in postgame interview on ESPN+.
Woods finished the game with a team-high 18 points with seven rebounds to go along with it.
Sophomore transfer guard Tierney Coleman also came clutch in the fourth quarter where she scored six of her 17 points.
Coleman also dished the ball out well with a game-high seven assists.
Senior forward Madelyn Batista contributed 12 points.
Jefferson had 10 points.
Another hero of the game was Mikayla Eddins.
Eddins came into the game with 7:30 left and scored all 12 of her points in the fourth quarter.
She also got the clutch rebound off the missed free throw by Madi Miller that led to the game-winning and-one layup and free throw by Woods.
It was a guts for glory victory for Sam Houston in which everyone had to do their part to pull off the comeback that seemed impossible.
According to ESPN’s win probability index, ACU had a 99% chance of winning after Coleman missed a 3-pointer with 43 seconds left.
It was quite an analytical comeback.
The Bearkats will now rest until Wednesday as they will face the rivals from Nacogdoches Texas, and the No. 1 seed in the Western Athletic conference Tournament Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks.
The game will be broadcasted on ESPN+.
Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. CT.