With just six seconds left in regulation, the UR women’s basketball team led tenth-ranked Washington University of St. Louis on Sunday by a comfortable three-point lead. The women couldn’t hold on for the win, however, as WashU sunk a three pointer at the buzzer to force the game into overtime.

At the end of the first overtime period, the tables had turned with the Yellowjackets down 81-79 with seconds left on the clock. After a timeout, sophomore forward Jackie Walker put the game on her shoulders. UR pushed the ball past the defenders where Walker drained the jumper to keep the game alive.

In the second overtime, the Yellowjackets’ defense broke down and gave up 20 points, half of which came in the paint. Despite the 90-101 score by the final buzzer, the end result was not indicative of the entire game. The offense shined throughout the contest, with four players scoring double figures. Junior forward Jodie Luther, freshman guard Laney Ming, senior guard Melissa Alwardt and Walker all broke the ten-point barrier.

“Even though we lost, I feel like this was kind of a turning point in our season, where we are learning to play tougher and more together,” Luther said. “We definitely know we have what it takes to beat those teams. We just need to play our best when we face them at home. Having close game experiences like the two overtimes is also crucial and should help us later in the season should we find ourselves in similar situations.”

As a freshman, Ming is making an immediate impact on the team. She has 107 total points in 14 games, and leads the team or is tied for the lead in free throw percentage, assists and steals. The Yellowjackets will need her to continue her stellar play to keep up in their highly competitive division.

“I feel like these games just give us a preview of the rest of our season,” Ming said. “There are going to be big games where the refs are not necessarily calling it both ways, but we just have to fight back and show how much heart the team has. I think this weekend really gave everyone a look into what they need to individually improve, which will carry on into more fluidity throughout the whole team’s play.”

Friday’s matchup against UAA rival University of Chicago didn’t help the team’s confidence going into the game against Wash U. The women couldn’t stop Chicago defensively or keep up offensively which ended in a 87-59 loss.

“As far as this weekend goes, it was a tough one for us,” head coach Jim Scheible said. “Chicago played an exceptional game and we just didn’t match it.  It was much more of a case of them just playing great than us playing poorly.”

The weekend wasn’t a total bust as the women now know how to improve for the final push of the season.

“Both of the games showed us what we need to work on,” Alwardt said. “We need to focus on rebounding and our defense. Playing Wash U and Chicago this early in the UAA season showed us what it takes to be one of the best teams in the nation. We will be able to build on the negatives and improve for this coming weekend.”

Manrique is a member of
the class of 2012.

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