SCOTTSBLUFF, NE – The Iowa Western Women's basketball team saw their 14 game winning streak come to an end in dramatic fashion on Wednesday against #21 ranked Western Nebraska. The game ended on a last second three point shot by the Cougars that gave them the 69-66 win over the Reivers.
The Reivers came out flat to start the game and were outscored 11-16 in the first. The second quarter saw a nice run by the Reivers. 8 out of the 9 Reivers suited up scored in the first half, and this balanced scoring and unselfish play would continue down the stretch. Despite only shooting 37% from the field the Reivers headed into halftime only down 5 points (28-32). The Cougars, who typically shoot 36% from the 3-point line, were held to just 26.7% in the first half.
The second half of the game saw multiple momentum swings, as the third quarter ended with the Reivers outscoring the Cougars 12-11.
The fourth quarter was spectacle, for both players and fans, as both teams got defensive stops and made big plays when they counted. With just under 5 minutes left to play the Reivers were down 4 points after freshman Binta Salawu hit a 3 pointer. The Cougars answered back with a quick bucket before the Reivers re-attacked and were fouled on the floor. The Reivers executed a baseline out of bounds play in which Salawu hit a baseline drive to bring the score to 54-59. A contested shot by #5 Wiehle by Western NE came up short before the Reivers almost missed a jump shot. Wiehle again was the go-to player for the Cougars, and was fouled and went to the line. She missed both free throws, which led to a nice momentum swing for the Reivers who then scored off of a nice drive by Sophomore De'Ayra Davis bringing the score to 59-56. The Cougars answered with a 3-pointer before Davis answered again with a trey to bring the score to 62-59. An air ball by Western NE put the ball back in the Reivers' hands before Head Coach Lindsey Vande Hoef called a time out with 1:58 remaining. Execution of a half court set led to a nice bucket off the bounce by Sophomore Kiara Dallmann, followed by a quick basket by the Cougars (64-61). Sommer Blakemore then attacked the paint for the Reivers before find Davis yet again for a 3-pointer to tie the game 64-64. A steal by Salawu put her at the line to shoot 2. But after missing both shots at the charity stripe Western Nebraska was fouled and went to the line to make 2 where they pulled ahead to take the lead 66-64. The Reivers did not back down and executed a baseline play, a tipped ball led to Western Nebraska jumping to save it on the baseline, but the ball would be recovered by Sommer Blakemore before a foul would be called putting Dallmann at the line. Dallmann hit both clutch free throws to bring the score to 66-66.
With 7.4 seconds left on the clock the Cougars called a time out to advance the ball. On the inbound at halfcourt the Cougars looked to get the ball to their leading scorer, Wiehle, who heaved a contested 3-pointer up at the top of the key with 4 seconds remaining, winning the game 69-66.
"I'm proud of the girls," Reiver Head Coach Lindsey Vande Hoef said. "We just ran out of time. The first quarter, we came out a little flat, but overall the fight and grit was really good to see."
The Reivers were lead in scoring by Davis (16) shooting 3-6 from the arc and 5-12 from the field and Blakemore (15) who also shot 5-12 from the field and 4-7 form the arc. Dallmann also put up 10 points, grabbed 4 boards, and dished out 4 assists. Aubri Noti also scored 8 points and grabed 8 boards.
The Reivers finished their regular season 23-7. After earning the top seed in Region XI the Reivers will play next for the tournament championship on Saturday, March 2nd at Reiver Arena against the winner of the Northeast/Marshalltown game on February 27.