Incredible comeback falls short

Women’s basketball loses to Central Methodist in the opening game of the NAIA tournament.

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Incredible comeback falls short

Caroline Sommers/THE CHIMES

Caroline Sommers/THE CHIMES

Caroline Sommers/THE CHIMES

Caroline Sommers/THE CHIMES

Austin Green, Writer

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Biola’s women’s basketball team erased a 15-point deficit in the second half but could not hold on, losing to Central Methodist University by a score of 52-49 in the first round of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics tournament on March 15. The No. 14 Eagles held the lead with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game, but it did not hold up as CMU retook the lead on a DaJonee Hale layup with just 17.8 seconds left that proved the game winner.

slow start

The Eagles started very slowly — only scoring six points in the first quarter thanks to some horrific shooting. A strong second quarter, however, saw Biola rebound — both literally and figuratively. They out-rebounded Central Methodist 14-8 in the first half, with 10 of those boards coming from senior forward Joclyn Kirton. Meanwhile, the Eagles chipped away at CMU’s lead before a clutch three-pointer from senior guard Annie Park with less than a minute before halftime narrowed it to only three.

Whatever momentum the Eagles had going into halftime was lost, however, as Central Methodist started the third quarter with 12 unanswered points. The Eagles responded with five points of their own to cut the lead to 10 going into the final period, then locked down CMU’s offense while Kirton and freshman guard Tatum Brimley took care of business on the other end.

Comeback falls short

Brimley in particular was phenomenal, scoring five of her eight points in the fourth. Her layup completed the remarkable comeback, tying the game with 3:22 remaining. Over a minute later, sophomore forward Sarah Dougan hit a jumper from the paint to give the Eagles their first lead of the entire contest. Biola could not build on that lead, however, as Brimley and Park missed their next three combined shots, allowing CMU to regain the lead for good on Hale’s bucket.

With the loss, women’s basketball finishes the season with a 23-8 overall record and becomes the latest Biola sport to bid goodbye to the NAIA forever. The team will now gear up to enter Division II of the NCAA starting next fall.