The Black Hills State women's basketball team won the fourth quarter, and it was enough to put it in the title game of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Shootout after the Yellow Jackets rallied past Metropolitan State-Denver 52-50 Friday night in Pueblo, Colo.
The Yellow Jackets, the third seed of the tournament, hung around just enough to give themselves a chance to make a run in the final 10 minutes. They did just that, outscoring the Roadrunners 15-7 and earning a title matchup against Colorado State-Pueblo tonight at 7 p.m. The Thunderwolves downed Regis 60-58 in the other semifinal contest.
"Again they showed a lot of resiliency and never quit. They showed a lot of grit," BHSU coach Mark Nore said. " Our defense got it done and we made some big plays late."
Black Hills State saved the best for last, taking its first lead of the game with a little more than one minute remaining.
With 4:03 remaining in the fourth, the jackets trailed 40-36 and they pulled with one with 2:39 remaining when Julia Seamans hit a 3-pointer at the top of the key.
With 1:17 left in the game, Lyndzi Rich was fouled down low. The freshman stepped to the charity stripe and drained her two free throws to give the BHSU its first lead of the game, 51-50.
With 18 seconds left, MSU Denver (22-8) had the ball down by one, but after a missed shot, Keely Bertram grabbed the defensive rebound and was fouled. She hit the first free throw with one second left, before missing the second on purpose. Time ran out as the teams battled for possession, giving the Yellow Jackets the victory and a spot in the RMAC championship game.
Rich had 13 points and eight rebounds to lead the way for the Yellow Jackets (24-6). Remi Wientjes and Bertram each added eight points.
Nore said that Rich was big for them in the second half and Keely Bertram shut down one of MSU-Denver's top players, Georgia Ohrdorf, to five points.
"Offensively it wasn't a clean game, but it was a game that came down to making plays, and we did that late," he said.
"It was a huge fourth quarter. We were down six points, and a few possessions we chiseled our way back. Julia Seamans had a big three, but we just kept going inside to Lyndzi in the second half."
The first quarter was a low scoring affair, with neither team able to get on the board until 4:28 into the game. MSU-Denver trailed 13-6 at the end of the quarter and chipped away to cut the halftime lead to 23-21.
Remi Wientjes scored the first five points for the Yellow Jackets in the third, including a 3-pointer, the first of the game for the team, with 6:40 left in the period, to bring BHSU within one, at 27-26. However, the Roadrunners responded with a 5-0 run, and eventually held a six-point lead at the end of the quarter, 43-37, before the fourth quarter theatrics occurred.
BHSU shot 30.8 percent from the field (16-for-52), while the Roadrunenrs were 31.6 percent from the floor (18-for-57). Black Hills State was outrebounded by MSU Denver, 42-34.
Emily Hartegan led all scorers with 16 points, while J'Nae Squires-Horton had 12 points for the Roadrunners.
Black Hills State fell to CSU-Pueblo twice this season, 60-49 in Spearfish and 58-47 in Pueblo. Nore, whoever, likes the way his team is playing at this item of the season.
"I'm thankful for the opportunity.It's a challenging season," Nore said. "I feel like we are peaking at the right time and I feel like we are playing with a lot of confidence and figuring out ways to win. That's what it takes. I'm thankful to have another game with these gals, to be able to share with them. It's an exciting time; I love it."