Clarksville, Ark.-The Lady Eagles went wire-to-wire with undefeated and nationally-ranked Howard Payne University only to see Lady Jacket Hope Hohertz spoil their upset bid by completing a three-point play with less than one second left in the game to steal a 51-49 win Thursday night in Brownwood, Texas.
Ozarks (1-5, 0-3 ASC) had Howard Payne (5-0, 3-0 ASC) on the ropes after Alison Villines sank both of her free throw attempts with 19 seconds remaining to put the Lady Eagles ahead 49-48. Howard Payne would call a timeout and then miss a three-pointer with 3 seconds left, but the Jackets got the rebound and called another timeout. With 1.4 ticks on the clock, Hohertz found her way to the basket forcing an Ozarks’ foul and making the game-winner with .8 on the clock. Howard Payne, which won the NCAA III women’s basketball national title in 2008, is currently ranked No. 8 in NCAA III.
The Jackets held a 17-12 lead with 12:12 left in the first half, but the Lady Eagles got tough on defense and did not allow another field goal until the 3:42 mark. Ozarks, meanwhile, took a 25-20 lead behind several Sabrina Goddard inside baskets with less than four minutes left. But Howard Payne made a run of their own to finish the half tied at 27-27.
Ozarks struck first early in the second half when April Young nailed a three-pointer. The game would go back-and-forth the rest of the way, but Young would hit another shot from downtown to put Ozarks ahead 40-37 with 7:19 remaining in the game. Goddard scored again to cushion Ozarks’ advantage, but Howard Payne tied it with 5:31 left. Trailing 48-47 with 1:59 to play, Ozarks would get two field goal opportunities, but missed both shots. The Lady Eagles eventually drew a foul and appeared to be on the verge of a major upset when Villines made both of her free throws with 19 seconds remaining.
“I was proud of our team’s effort,” said first-year head coach Carl Ramsey. “We can make a lot of excuses, but we are not going to do that. Our kids played well and there were several times in the ballgame I felt like we had a chance to go up 6 or 8 points. There were also some times when we got down and it would have been easy to quit, but the kids didn’t do that. It came down to a call at the end of the game and a shot at the buzzer. We were that far away from beating the No. 8 team in the nation.”
Goddard led the team with 21 points and 9 rebounds. Young, who went 4-of-9 from behind the three-point line, added 15 points. Lindsey Louks recorded 9 rebounds.
Ozarks will face Sul Ross State this Saturday at 1:00 p.m.