Another last second shot dooms Bucs at Embry-Riddle

(Prescott, AZ)  The Park University Gilbert women’s basketball team was hoping a flip of the calendar to a new year would help to change the fortunes of disappointing December. But all the new month did was find a new way to torture the Buccaneers as they lost their 10th game in a row in another heartbreaking fashion 71-68 at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott.

The first quarter saw the Buccaneers continue to struggle from the floor as they did in the fourth quarter of their last contest against Ave Maria. They only posted 11 points and shot 28 percent from the floor. Five players scored a basket each with Kianna Turenne adding an additional point with a free throw.

Down nine after the first frame, the Bucs cut into the deficit in the second quarter. They outscored the Eagles 24-21 behind six points and three rebounds from Jazmyne Jenkins. Park shot a much-improved 55 percent from the floor and forced five ERAU turnovers. The one anomaly in the first half was a lack of a three-point shot being made by the Buccaneers.  Park has made at least one three-point basket in every game so far in its history (72 games).

The third quarter st0aw the Bucs cut into the Eagle advantage again as Kayla Schroeder scored 10 of the teams 18 points in the stanza. The Bucs outscored the Eagles 18-15 and the deficit was now only three.

Park has lost five games in this streak where they had a lead entering the final frame. This was an opportunity to turn the tables on an opponent and make the comeback themselves and oh did they come close.

After trailing the whole contest, Park Gilbert finally got the game back to square at 60-all with 5:16 remaining in the game. The Bucs then took their first lead on a Madison Chappell layup. ERAU answered with back-to-back threes to take the lead back to four. Undaunted the Bucs continued to battle and a 4-0 run of its own tied the game again at 66 with two minutes to go.

After a made free throw by the Eagles, Chappell got to the charity stripe with an up and under move to give the Bucs a one-point lead with 42 seconds remaining. For the second game in a row, Park owned a lead with under 30 seconds to go. On Saturday, the dagger was a running jump shot with less than a second to go. Tonight, the Bucs were undone by the ninth three-pointer of the game for ERAU. Aryana Gonzales nailed the long-range bomb from left side with 22 second to go to give the Eagles a two-point lead and forced a Bucs time out.

The Bucs dialed up a baseline drive for Schroeder who was fouled as she went for the layup. Schroeder came into the game shooting 87 percent (13-15) from the line and was already 4-5 on the evening from the line. But she missed both free throws and the Bucs had to foul with 14 seconds. Embry Riddle came back down on their end and did the same thing missing both free throws which could have put the game away. The Bucs still had life as they came down with the rebound and had plenty of time to run their offense.  After a couple of passes, guard Jayla Reliford found herself with an open look from 10 feet, but her jumper bounced a couple of times on the rim and off and the Bucs had to foul again, this time with three second remaining.

This time the Eagles made the back end of the two shots and upped its advantage back to three. Park Gilbert called its last time out and advanced the ball to half court.

On Saturday, the Bucs had less than a second to get a shot off and Schroeder was called for a charge trying to get open. This time they had three seconds which is a lot of time. The were able to get the ball to Schroeder who then collided and looked to tweak her ankle as she went down to floor.  No foul was called, and time ran out on the Bucs as they fell for the second game in a row in gut-wrenching fashion.

After a poor first quarter, the Bucs shot well enough to finish the contest shooting 41 percent. They managed to keep the streak alive, hitting one three-pointer in the third quarter, but it was only the second time in 73 games they made so few shots from beyond the arc. The Bucs lack of size was noticeable in the contest as they were out rebounded 57-38. The Bucs did a much better job of valuing the basketball with only 16 turnovers while forcing 24 miscues on the part of ERAU. Those turnovers turned into 30 points and spurred the Bucs comeback.

Chappell paced the Bucs attack with 12 points and a career high 13 rebounds. She also added two assists and two steals. Jenkins had eight points and nine rebounds before fouling out. Reliford led the Bucs in scoring with 14 points and four assists.

The Bucs will now return how to see if some home cooking can turn its fortunes around.  The Bucs host Pacific Union and Cal Maritime on Thursday and Friday, January 5-6 at Bell Bank Park.  Both contests start at 5:30 p.m.

Press Release courtesy of Park University Athletics – Preston English 

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