Owls survive regular season


Hunter O. LyleSports Editor

With a chance to enter the NE10 playoffs on the line, the women’s basketball team snuck out an overtime win against Pace University, 80-78.

Not only was this game a do-or-die scenario, as well as a sneaky win in overtime, it was also Senior Night for three Owls: guard Amanda Pfohl and forwards Allie Smith, and Erin Ryder.

The three seniors were lead to center court with their parents, where they received roses, large framed photos of themselves in uniform, and took a picture with the head athletic staff and coaches.

“There was a lot of emotions,” said Ryder, who is a four-year player for the team, “I thought of it, possibly if we had lost, it would be our last game, and it was a really sad thought to me, personally.”

The game would have been a crucial and much-needed win for either team, with the Setters just one game behind the Owls in the Southwest Division at the start of the contest.

In the opening quarter of the contest, after the roses and framed pictures were given to the graduating seniors, both teams started with stagnant offenses. The Owls shot 40 percent (6-15) from the floor and 33 percent (2-6) from 3-point range, while the Setters only shot 25 percent (4-16) from the field and failed to sink a shot from deep.

The Owls amped up their energy and intensity in the second quarter, with junior guard Kiana Steinauer playing her usual role: leading the team in points and rebounds with 18 points and eight rebounds.

“I think just our focus [changed]. I think at the beginning of the game, it was kind of like, ‘woah, this is our last game.’ It kind of hit us like, we need to do whatever we can to win. This could be the last game of the season,” said Steinauer, who finished with a new career high 34 points for her third 30-point game of the season. “So, we just did whatever we could. Got some stops on defense. Everyone really stepped up. Everyone gave extra.”

Out of the halftime break, Pace started to expose the holes in Southern’s defense and climb their way back into the game.

The Setter’s driving guards were able to carve into the paint one play and dish the ball out to outside shooters the next.

Southern’s 11-point lead at the end of the second quarter fell to only seven at the end of the third, with Pace University tying the game on a last second layup at the end of the fourth, sending the game into overtime.

As Pace took a four-point lead with just under two minutes to go, the game was placed in the hands of Steinauer.

The Setter’s driving guards were able to carve into the paint one play and dish the ball out to outside shooters the next.

Southern’s 11-point lead at the end of the second quarter fell to only seven at the end of the third, with Pace University tying the game on a last second layup at the end of the fourth, sending the game into overtime.

As Pace took a four-point lead with just under two minutes to go, the game was placed in the hands of Steinauer. “[The team won because] I think just playing with heart. One of the things coach said was play with our heart. Ultimately it came down to who wants it more,” said Steinauer. “I just tried to do whatever I can for the team, tried any hustle play we could. We just wanted to out hustle them, out rebound, out work them, and I think we did that.”

Steinauer lead both teams in scoring in overtime with nine points – seven of them being crucial free throws, while also collecting two steals.

Southern went on to finish post-regulation time on a 11-7 run, winning the game and clinching a playoff spot in the NE10 Championships, which start on Mar. 1.

Pfohl only had one way to explain why the team was able to survive overtime and win the game. “Kiana Steinauer.”

Photo Credit: William Aliou

 

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