After trailing by a dozen at the intermission, the Pratt Community College women fought back in the second half, sending the game into overtime before ultimately prevailing 84-80 over Dodge City on Saturday night at the Dennis Lesh Sports Arena.
Trailing by 3 with under a half minute left in regulation, PCC head coach Stephanie Thompson drew up a play for her charges during a time out. When the game resumed, point guard Maddie Pendry swished a ball from behind the arc, the Beaver Dome erupting as the game was sent to overtime with Pratt owning the momentum.
“That was the play we drew up,” Thompson said after the game. “It actually took one extra pass, but that was what we wanted-Maddie at the top of the key, and she drained it.”
The Lady Beavers had emerged from the locker room with renewed vigor in the second half, playing with noticeably more passion. Slowly but inexorably, Pratt chipped away at the 43-31 lead the Lady Conquistadors had established in the opening half. “I unloaded on them at half time,” explained Thompson. “It was good to see them respond and play hard in the second half.”
“The game should never have had to go to overtime, though,” Thompson continued. “We played poorly defensively in the first half, we couldn’t even guard someone standing still. We can’t give up that many points in the first half. But to the girls’ credit, they battled back in crunch time and got the job done when they had to.”
Among those who worked the hardest in the second half was post player Elle Stein, who finished the game with a double-double, 11 rebounds to go along with 16 points. A force on the glass, and attacking the basket, Stein was able to get to the charity stripe often, with 10 of her points coming from the free throw line. “Elle really battled tonight,” Thompson said appreciatively.
Another second half improvement for PCC came in the ball-handling department. In the first half, Pratt coughed it up 12 times, and Dodge City more often than not capitalized, scoring 20 points off turnovers in the first half alone. The Beavers took care of the ball better in the second stanza, only giving up 6 such points to the Conqs.
The Lady Beavers D’d up better in the second half also. Occasionally jumping into a zone, Pratt was able to cool off the Conqs hot shooting. In the opening frame, Dodge hit for 48% from the field and 50% from three point land. With a hand in their face, Dodge could only manage 31% and 20% in the second half.
“I was a little leery going to a zone, because they (Dodge) had been shooting so well,” Coach Thompson explained. “But I just wanted to give them a different look and see if they would figure it out.” The defensive adjustment allowed to PCC to get a few key stops as they continued to close the gap in the second half.
Page 2 of 2 - PCC dominated the boards, hawking 61 rebounds to just 38 for Dodge. “We got 20 second chance points tonight,” Thompson mentioned. “That was huge for us.” Pratt also appeared to have a bit deeper bench than their foes, an advantage in a game that goes overtime. PCC’s bench scored 21 points to 15 for Dodge’s bench.
In overtime, the Beavers got off to good start, Hayli Jo Smith hitting a basket, then 2 free throws to stake Pratt to a lead. Trailing, Dodge went into hack mode, but PCC was up to the task. The Beavers hit 11 free throws in OT to hold off the Dodges, ultimately emerging with an 84-80 triumph.
With their first conference win, the Lady Beavers are now 1-2 in the Jayhawk West, 12-5 overall. On Wednesday, the Beavers will take on the Broncbusters at Garden City with a 5:30 game time.
PCC 31 38 (15) 84
DODGE 43 26 (11) 80
Devlin 0-1-2/2-5; Maddie Pendry 1-4-9/10-23; Hayli Jo Smith 4-0-2/2-10; Strobel 2-0-0-4; Ashari Broadwater 5-0-2/2-12; Mehl 4-0-1/2-9; Parks 1-0-3/4-5; Elle Stein 3-0-10/14-16