200th career win

Headcoach Candi Whitaker embracing with her players after her 200th career win.

They say lightning never strikes the same place twice.  Clearly no one told that to Missouri Western women’s basketball

Connie Clarke's layup with two seconds left propelled Missouri Western past Fort Hays in an 82 -81 overtime thriller. This victory also marks the Griffons first win against the Tigers in the regular season since 2007.

The last Missouri Western’s Brionna Budgetts stepped foot onto a Fort Hays court she only had two points but the game winning two points that would send Missouri Western into the Elite Eight.

However this time Budgetts would have 20 in the first quarter, including rallying off a 13-0 individual run ending the quarter going 8/10 from the field and 4/5 from beyond the arc.

Missouri Western found themselves disrupting the Fort Hays offense constantly as they limited Fort Hays to shoot 9/30 from the field, only allowing 23 points in  the first half. Going into halftime the Griffons were ahead comfortably 34-23.

Olivia Hollenbeck kept the Tigers alive scoring eight in the first half but the Tigers needed a spark in order to make a comeback.

It was Katie Wagner who filled that role.  Wagner helped pull her team out of the deficit they faced, scoring her first nine points in a row channeling her inner Budgetts.  

The fourth quarter was a heavyweight fight of the ages between two of the best the MIAA has to offer.

Clarke aided Missouri Western immensely with six big points, while Johnni Gonzalez and Mary Fultz contributed from behind the arc.With 30 seconds left, the Griffons were ahead 60-58 but once again Hollenbeck would keep the Tigers. alive, hitting a layup to send the game into overtime.

In the start of overtime Fort Hays pummeled Missouri Western jumping out to a 67-62 with a minute to go. Jordan Cunningham and Alyssa Bonilla would push the Griffons ahead 69-67 but the Tigers would knock down a pair of free throws to send the game into a second overtime.

The second overtime looked like a repeat of the NCAA Regional final.

Both teams traded buckets going back and forth with contributions coming from both benches. Bonilla would play a key factor for Missouri Western as she would score six in the frame to keep her team alive.

Yet, the Tigers refused to die as Sydney Gollday would hit a layup with four seconds remaining to take an 81-80. Missouri Western would call a timeout to advance the ball to half court looking for another miracle inside of the Gross Coliseum.

Clarke answered that miracle, as she would score the game winning layup in the same location as Budgetts did last year. 

The win now marks 200 career win mark for head coach Candi Whitaker. Next up for Missouri Western on Jan. 28, will be a battle with the MIAA’s best defense Nebraska Kearney.


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