PT. LOOKOUT, Mo. (November 14, 2015) -- Despite a double-digit deficit, the John Brown women’s basketball team (2-1) made a furious comeback and tied the game at 71 with 2.4 seconds left, but a last-second desperation triple from Bethel (Tenn.) handed JBU its first loss of the season, 74-71, on Saturday (Nov. 14) afternoon inside Keeter Gymnasium.
The No. 4 Wildcats appeared poised to run away with the contest after building a 43-30 lead at the half. JBU responded with a 24-10 third-quarter comeback, capped by a Kimmy Deines’ triple to take a 54-51 lead into the fourth.
The final period was peppered with nine lead changes until the Golden Eagles faced a three-point deficit with four seconds remaining. Bethel intentionally fouled Deines on the ensuing possession, sending Deines to the line for two. After splashing the first Deines missed the second and freshman Bailey Cameron came up with a monumental offensive rebound and took the foul. At the stripe, Cameron sunk both to improbably tie the game at 71 apiece, leaving the Wildcats with one final possession.
As part of the new rule changes, Bethel took possession at half court. After inbounding and facing a wall at the top of the right arc, BU’s Sharmon Pearson heaved a last-second 23-foot triple in desperation, only to have it fall, sending John Brown to its first loss of the season.
“I was so proud of the way we came back in the second half,” noted head coach Jeff Soderquist. “Shots weren’t falling early and the girls kept playing hard. We have to build from this and keep working. We need to rebound better and cut down on our turnovers.”
Unlike yesterday that saw JBU finish 30-of-31 from the line, the Golden Eagles could only manage a 16-of-26 (61.5 percent) mark from the stripe. Bethel won the battle of the boards, 39-36, and forced 20 JBU turnovers, committing 17 of its own.
Junior Kodee Powell hit 5-of-7 from long range to finish with a team-best and career-high 22 points. She also grabbed six boards and dished out three assists. Sophomore Kimmy Deines went 6-of-11 from the line to contribute 14 points while senior Brooke Barker added a pair of triples and five rebounds to finish with 10 points. Cameron grabbed a team-high seven caroms and posted nine points and a pair of blocks in the loss for John Brown.
The Golden Eagles shot 43.1 percent (22-of-51) from the floor and limited the Wildcats to a 25-of-66 effort (37.9 percent), but couldn’t overcome Bethel’s 14-of-19 (73.7 percent) mark from the free throw line. Both teams hoisted in double-digit triples with John Brown splashing 11, one more than BU on five fewer attempts.
A difficult 1-of-7 start from the field, coupled by three turnovers, sent JBU into an early 13-2 hole in the first quarter. Barker’s first triple of the game helped stem the bleeding, which was followed by a Mariah Knox bucket in the paint, but Bethel continued to surge and hit a quarter-closing triple to take a 19-11 lead into the second period.
The second quarter featured a sharp-shooting Wildcat team that opened the frame up hitting seven of its first eight shots, including three triples. Powell knocked down back-to-back three-pointers during the stretch, keeping JBU in contention, but in a 34-19 hole. Trading more triples down the line, the Golden Eagles caught some momentum with 2:42 left when Powell and Fine hit long-range jumpers on consecutive possessions to close the gap to 10, 40-30. Fittingly, Bethel closed the half out with a final triple from Pearson to take a 13-point lead into the break.
Similar to Bethel in the second, John Brown opened up the third stanza by hitting five of its first six attempts from the field. Cameron started the run with a shot off the glass that was followed by a Deines old-fashioned three-point play. Powell added her third trey of the afternoon shortly after and added another bucket at the 7:24 mark. Finally, Powell closed out the 15-2 run with 5:27 left in the third quarter with another triple, tying the score at 45 apiece.
Bethel regained a 49-46 advantage, but freshman Allie Pack added her first points of the third quarter off a turnover, returning the lead to JBU, 50-49. Cameron split a pair at the line at the 59 second mark to tie the game at 51 before Deines hit a triple with 27 ticks remaining for a 54-51 lead.
Jackliann Street led all scorers with 26 points on 9-of-25 shooting from the floor while grabbing eight rebounds. Pearson hit four triples to add 16 points while Alex Hardaway completed the double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Golden Eagles will return home on Tuesday (Nov. 17) to host Ecclesia (Ark.) at Bill George Arena at 7 p.m.