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Shepherd Women's Basketball Advances in WVIAC Tournament on Last Second Shot

59-57 win over Concord sends Rams to Charleston on Wednesday for quarterfinals

avance03@shepherd.edu

Published: Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Updated: Wednesday, March 3, 2010 04:03

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2010 The Picket

The Shepherd women's basketball team celebrates following its 59-57 win over Concord in the first round of the WVIAC Tournament on March 1, 2010

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2010 The Picket

Shepherd forward Shelby Fayak (25) goes up for a shot over Concord's Jolysa Brown (44) in WVIAC Tournament action on March 1

Jerica Hewett emerged from the locker room of the Butcher Center on Monday night with ice packs down the left side of her body from the arm to the hip to the knee.

The smattering of applause she received from the small group of Shepherd supporters still lingering in the gym following the Rams' 59-57 victory over the Concord Lady Lions in the first round of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference basketball tournament would have been well deserved just for the effort alone that the junior guard from Keedysville, Md. left on the court.

Hewett gave an invaluable spark to her team by spending much of the night falling to the floor after hustling for loose balls and taking charges, but most of the Butcher Center crowd that witnessed the game will only remember Hewett's last play.

After trailing for the entire second half, Concord tied the game at 57 on Camisha Alexander's driving basket with eight seconds remaining. Shepherd coach Melanie Ford elected not to call a timeout, and sophomore guard Jenn Prine quickly brought the ball up the floor.

Prine then passed to Hewett on the left elbow who drove to the basket and scooped it up and in off the glass while leaning to her right under the arm of Concord's Jolysa Brown.

"I'm used to being injured and knew the team needed me so I was out there for them, and I just tried to make the layup at the end either way," said the hero of the game.

Concord called for a timeout following the basket, and sophomore guard Katie Biggs intercepted the long inbounds pass to run the final 1.8 seconds off the clock.

Hewett's shot saved a game for the Rams that was suddenly becoming eerily similar to their 94-93 loss to the Lions in the Butcher Center last Wednesday.

In that game, Shepherd saw a 10 point second half lead slip away late in the game when Alexander scored on a drive to the basket following a turnover.

In this game, Shepherd also saw a 10 point second half lead slip away late in the game when Alexander scored on a drive to the basket following a turnover.

After Alexander, who finished with a game-high 21 points, cut the Shepherd lead to 57-55 with 34 seconds left, Prine found herself trapped against the sideline by three Lions defenders.

She appeared to be pushed out of bounds, but no foul was called, and Concord gained the possession that resulted in Alexander's game-tying drive.

The difference on this night would be Hewett's heroics.

"She's a winner, she puts her heart out there, and you can't complain when she's out there giving 100 percent effort," said Ford.

Hewett was on the court for 38 of 40 minutes and showed up in all five major stat categories, finishing with 10 points, six rebounds, six steals, three assists, and a block.

With the victory, Shepherd advances to the quarterfinals of the WVIAC tournament, the rest of which will be held at the Charleston Civic Center in the state's capital. The seventh-seeded Rams will attempt to advance further in the tournament when they take on second-seeded Seton Hill Wednesday at 1 p.m.

Seton Hill defeated 15th seeded Bluefield State 92-44 on Monday night. The Griffins defeated Shepherd twice this season by scores of 67-51 and 69-62.

The Rams got off to a quick start that forced the Lady Lions to play from behind the entire way. Freshman guard Alex Temez and Biggs drained three-pointers on back-to-back possessions to give Shepherd a 20-10 lead with eight minutes remaining in the first half.

A three-pointer by Concord's Sarah Blevins cut the Ram lead to 30-27 late in the first half, but Shepherd went into the half up 34-27 after a bizarre sequence to end the half.

Freshman guard Emily Daniel drove to the basket as time wound down and was fouled by Blevins with three-tenths of a second on the clock. Concord coach Kenny Osborne, who was very animated during much of the half, received a technical foul for arguing with the call, and the Rams went to the line for four straight foul shots.

The Lady Lions then got possession of the ball, and Alexander caught the inbounds pass near half court and banked in a long shot that didn't quite leave her hand before the buzzer.

Concord spent the entirety of the second half in a continuous cycle of getting close to erasing the deficit and then watching Shepherd pull farther away.

 

Sports editor Ben Gibson contributed to this story.

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