ALVA, Okla. - Haley Schaefer hit a three with 32 seconds to play and Emily Williams added a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left to complete a second half rally and lift Southeastern to a 66-63 win over Northwestern Oklahoma State on Thursday night in Alva, Okla.
The win moves the Savage Storm to 13-8 overall and 10-5 in Great American Conference play. It also becomes key as the win matches Southwestern Oklahoma State who downed East Central on Thursday which allowed the Storm and the Bulldogs to move into a tie for second heading into Saturday’s 2 p.m. matchup for sole possession of the league’s number two spot.
Williams turned in another big outing, finishing with 19 points on the night despite a rough night shooting, going 3-of-11 from the floor. She made up her ground by sinking a perfect 13-for-13 which sets a conference record for free throws made in a single game without a miss. She also turned in her fifth double-double of the season by hauling in a game-high 14 rebounds.
Schaefer finished with 15 points on the night, but none bigger than her final three which capped a second-half rally by putting the Storm in front for good at 64-63 with 31 seconds to play. She finished the night 6-of-13 form the field and 1-of-2 from three point range.
Ronay English also reached double-figures with 11 points on the night that included a perfect 7-of-7 performance at the free throw line.
When the dust settled it was the free throw line that made the difference for SE as they were outshot from the field. The Storm finished a season-best 88.9 percent from the line as a team, hitting 24-of-27 attempts which allowed them to capitalize on a 9-of-20 effort from the charity stripe for NWOSU.
SE led in points in the paint, second chance points and points off turnovers.
The Rangers scored the first five points, but the Storm answered with a 6-0 run to take its first lead of the game at 6-5 on a pair of Williams’ free throws.
NWOSU would regain the lead, however until a Taylor Richards jumper tied the game at 14-14 with 9:37 to go in the half.
A 10-2 Ranger run at that point opened up an eight point advantage for the home team which the Storm would have to chip away at, eventually stealing the lead back when English converted an old-fashioned three-point play to go up 29-28 with 1:45 to play.
NWOSU would score the final four points of the half to take a 32-29 lead into the break.
The Rangers opened the second half on a 9-2 run to push the lead to double figures at 41-31.
That lead would slowly grow to its largest advantage at 52-37 with 11:45 to play in the game.
SE then reeled off an 18-3 run triggered by a Madison Thames layup and capped by a pair of free throws form English with 4:51 to play which tied the game at 55-55.
A p[air of Williams freebies would give the Storm a short-lived lead and the teams would answer one another to the tune of three more tie scores, the third coming at 61-61 with 1:11 to play.
A Ranger jumper from Dierra Gilmore put the home team in front 63-61 with 42 second to play, but Schafer answered 11 seconds later with a three that put the Storm in front for good at 64-63.
Schaefer’s three was just the second three the team hit on the night.
After a NWOSU missed three on their next possession, Williams went to the line with 10 seconds remaining and hit both free throws to stretch the lead to 66-63 which would hold to be the final score.