UCM Jennies Upset Top Ranked Emporia State
WARRENSBURG, Mo. -- For the first time in nearly a decade, the Jennies basketball team defeated the No. 1 team in the country, Emporia State, 62-61 in the game's final moments at the Multipurpose Building on Saturday afternoon.
The last time UCM (11-4, 5-2 MIAA) accomplished the feat was January 15, 2005 at Emporia State, an 84-77 final.
This time around in Warrensburg, the Jennies overcame a nine-point hole in the second half, outscoring the Lady Hornets, 22-12 in the final 14:09 to complete the upset. Three Jennies, led by senior Revonnia Howard's 20 points, finished in double-figure scoring.
The first half consisted of four ties and nine lead changes. The Jennies scored the game's first four points, but the Lady Hornets went on a 5-0 run to take their first lead at 5-4 with 15:07 left in the opening half.
The two conference foes traded buckets over the next seven possessions, leaving UCM with a 13-11 lead with 11:07 left on the first half clock.
After Brielle Wattley knocked down a jumper to give the Jennies a 15-11 lead, Emporia State came back with five of its own to re-take a 16-15 edge. The game's fourth tie occurred with 7:30 left after a trey by Emporia State's Kyrstie Miller, but the Jennies came back with jumpers by Howard and senior Justina Prairie Chief to take a 23-19 lead with 6:30 left.
The Lady Hornets went on a 12-2 binge over the next 5:05, increasing their lead to six points. The opening half ended with both teams trading buckets, leaving the Jennies in a 33-27 hole. UCM outscored Emporia State, 20-14 in the paint and accummulated nine bench points.
In the first 2:25 of the second half, Emporia State built its lead to eight points at 39-31. UCM responded with a six unanswered points, cutting the deficit to two, all accounted for by Prairie Chief.
The next four possessions saw the two foes exchanging buckets, but back-to-back three-pointers by the Lady Hornets gave ESU its largest lead of the game at 49-40 with 14:09 left in the game.
The deficit was cut to five with 12:47 on the clock, but went right back to seven points with 11:09 left following a pair of made free throws by Merissa Quick.
Howard's three-point play with 10:11 remaining closed the gap to 51-47, but was cancelled out by a three-point play by Quick on the ensuing possession.
After Emporia State's lead went back to nine points, the Jennies knocked down three free throws to close to within 56-50 with 6:19 on the clock.
The deficit remained at six points until the 2:41 mark of the second half, when junior Shelby Winkelmann and Prairie Chief deposited three free throws in four attempts, making it a 60-57 contest.
Two possessions later, Prairie Chief drew a foul and knocked down two more free throw tosses, closing the Jennies to within 60-59 with 1:52 left in the game.
Following an Emporia State turnover with 1:34 remaining, Howard received a bounce pass from senior Breonna Embray to the left of the basket and dropped it in the hoop, giving UCM its first lead since the 4:55 mark in the first half.
On the ensuing possession, Kelsey Barnwell was fouled and split the pair of free throws, tying the game at 61-61 with 59 seconds remaining.
Emporia State responded to a UCM turnover with a miscue of their own, giving the Jennies the ball back with 13 seconds remaining.
Winkelmann sunk the game-winning free throw after drawing a foul with five seconds left.
The Jennies closed the game with a defensive stand after Kelly Moten's last-second three-pointer was off the mark, preserving the 62-61 upset victory for the Jennies, extending their win streak to Emporia State at home to three games. The win also snapped the Jennies' three-game losing streak to the Lady Hornets.
The win was No. 590 in the career of head coach Dave Slifer.
Howard and Prairie Chief both pulled down nine rebounds, while Howard came up with four blocked shots, one shy of matching her career high.
The Jennies scored 19 points off turnovers (13 in second half) and outscored Emporia State, 35-28 after trailing by six points at the intermission.
UCM hits the road on Wednesday, January 14 to battle Missouri Western for a 5:30 p.m. tip-off.