The Edmond Sun

Sports

March 14, 2008

Bronchos knock off St. Mary's in a thriller

CANYON, Texas – Micha Hester and Karlie Free may not have ever hit bigger shots in their lifetime as Hester drained a 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds on the clock to force overtime and Free dropped in the game-winning basket with two seconds remaining in the extra session to send third-seeded Central Oklahoma past No. 6-seed St. Mary’s, 75-73 at the NCAA Division II South Central Regional Friday afternoon.

Trailing 61-58 with one possession remaining in regulation, Hester launched a desperation 3-point field goal from well beyond the arc that found nothing but net, tying the score and sending the game into overtime. UCO trailed by as many as four in the extra session, but four straight points from Mallory Markus, a Kasey Tweed layup and a clutch 3-point field goal by Cassidy Pillow set up Free’s late game heroics as the senior calmly drained an eight-foot jumper from the baseline with two seconds remaining for the eventual game-winner.

Lizzie Brenner notched a team-high 17 points and a game-best 18 rebounds while Markus added 11, Tweed came off the bench to contribute 11 with Pillow chipping in nine, Free eight and Hester six points in the dramatic victory.

UCO, making its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division II national tournament, improves to 24-7 on the season and advances into tommorrow’s 6 p.m. semifinals where they will face the winner between No. 2-seed Washburn and seventh-seeded Angelo State.

“This was probably one of the most exciting games I have ever been a part of,” said UCO head coach Guy Hardaker. “I couldn’t be happier for this team because they played a great game against a very talented team and we’re able to come away with a well-deserved victory. We’ll take our time to enjoy this win, but we still have another very important game to prepare for tomorrow night.”

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