TOPEKA, Kan. — The University of Central Oklahoma women's basketball team couldn't get a shot off as time expired Thursday night and the Bronchos lost 63-60 to Washburn in Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association play.
Central Oklahoma is now 14-4 on the season overall and 8-2 in league play.
"That was a tough loss for us," UCO head coach Guy Hardaker said. "We feel like we are a lot better than we played tonight. We didn't shoot the ball very well and our offense didn't really get going and that cost us. It's a really tough league and it's hard to win on the road, but we'll move past this one and get ready for the next one."
Central took a 57-54 lead with 2:21 to play on a Shatoya Bryson jumper, but Washburn answered with a two on the other end, then a 3-pointer, and took a 59-57 lead with 1:38 to play. Kelsey Johnson hit a pair of free-throws with 1:20 left that made it 59-59, but Washburn had an answer again, hitting a shot to take a 61-59 lead with 53 seconds to play.
A tough offensive foul call against Johnson on the UCO end put the Bronchos in a must-stop defensive situation. Central did, but an offensive rebound by Washburn forced Central to have to foul. WU hit 1 of 2 at the line with 13 seconds left, then fouled the Bronchos without any time running off the clock. Johnson unfortunately missed both of her free-throws. Central fouled again with six seconds left and Washburn then missed both of its attempts from the line, giving the Bronchos another chance.
Again, Washburn fouled with no time running off the clock. Micayla Haynes then made the first, but in attempting to miss the second on purpose, didn't hit the rim. Central fouled one last time and Washburn made 1 of 2 attempts again, going up 63-60 with two seconds left. An outlet pass to Haynes gave UCO hope, but a second pass was too late and time expired on the Bronchos.
Johnson led the Bronchos Thursday night with 16 points and 10 rebounds. The junior was 6-for-7 from the floor and 4-for-6 from the free-throw line. Bryson added 14 points, four assists and three steals, while Brooke Rayner added 10 points, five assists, and two steals.
UCO was 22-for-56 from the floor overall Thursday, 6-for-21 from behind the arc, and hit 10 of their 15 free-throw attempts.
Central struggled in the first quarter. Rayner gave UCO a 3-2 lead in the opening minute, and Johnson gave the Bronchos a 5-4 lead ahead of the first quarter media timeout, but UCO fell behind 11-5 soon after, with Central making only two of its first 13 attempts from the floor. UCO made just 3 of 15 after the first 10 minutes and trailed 13-5.
The second quarter started the same way, but the Bronchos would find a way. Haynes, who sat out the last game and missed the first quarter Thursday, entered the game with 9:11 to play in the second quarter. Moments later, a struggling UCO offense let out a sigh of relief when Haynes drained a 3-pointer from the left wing.
That kick-started a rally for the Bronchos. UCO went on an 8-3 run a bit later in the quarter, with Bryson hitting a jumper, Johnson put in two baskets during the run, and Clary Donica added a layup too. After trailing 16-10 when Haynes hit her 3, the Bronchos were down only 19-18 when Johnson put in her second basket of the run and third of the game.
And after that, a 3-pointer from Bryson tied the game, 21-21. UCO got a big boost from that. Rayner stole a ball in the backcourt and scored an easy layup to give Central its first lead, 23-21, since its 5-4 lead in the first quarter. UCO led 25-23 with 1:48 to play. A 4-0 run by Washburn to end the half left it 27-25 at the break.
UCO used a strong start in the third quarter to retake the lead and hold on to it. Johnson opened the second half with a layup, Bryson knocked down a 3-pointer, Rayner made a layup, Donica made a layup, and Johnson made another. Central hit its first five shots of the quarter, took the lead back, and put itself in a controlling position for the rest of the quarter.
Central hit 7 of their 13 shots in the quarter and went 4-for-5 from the free-throw line — its first attempts of the night — and took a 45-42 lead into the fourth quarter.
Haynes finished with nine points in her first career reserve appearance. She was 3-for-7 overall from the floor and 2-for-4 from deep. Donica scored four, while McKenna Pulley, Lauren Chancellor, and Aliyah Llanusa each had two points.
Central Oklahoma continues a brief, two-game road trip Sunday. The Bronchos take on Emporia State in Emporia, Kan. at 1:30 p.m. inside White Auditorium.