The Grace Lady Tigers advanced to the final four at the ACCA National Tournament in Joplin, Missouri with a last-second overtime victor over the Bears of Barclay College. Stephanie Miller was the hero as she hit a put-back with 0.3 seconds on the clock to gain the 65-64 victory in overtime.
The Tigers started out of the gate a little slowly, falling behind the quick and pressing Barclay squad, 6-2. The Tigers found their composure and broke the pressure and raced out to a 24-13 lead. Kerie Rudd was on fire for the Tigers as she scored 19 of her game-high 23 points in the first half on the day that just happened to be her birthday. The Tigers went into the half with a 35-28 lead.
The second half was not so kind to the Tigers as they missed several easy shots and couldn’t put away the pesky Bears, even after pushing the lead to 10 points on several occasions. The Bears used timely three point shooting to keep themselves in the game, including a long bomb with about 30 seconds left in regulation to tie the game. Grace had a final possession to try to win the game in regulation, but turned the ball over with just a couple of seconds left in the game.
The Tigers were behind for most of the extra session, but never gave up. Barclay missed the front end of a 1 and 1 free throw with 10 seconds left. Kerie Rudd got the rebound and raced up the court to see her shot from the left wing miss. Stephanie Miller was in perfect position to gather the rebound and make the winning shot with less than a second left on the clock.
Kerie Rudd had 23 points, 11 rebounds and four assists. Marissa Pelletier had 15 points and nine rebounds. Jessica Sikorski was double and triple-teamed all game long and managed 11 points and 16 rebounds. Kara Cunningham added eight points and Stephanie Miller added six.
“I would have never guessed we would win if you told me Jessica would shoot 2-15 and Stephanie 3-15 from the floor,” an elated Coach Renzema said after the game. “We showed tonight we are more than just a one person team. We didn’t play our best by a long shot, but we the girls really stepped up and made one more play than our opponent. We are really excited to be playing in the final four, but we have a tremendous challenge in front of us.”
The Lady Tigers will take on the #1 seeded Hillsdale at 6:30 Central time on Friday.