ST. LOUIS — After trailing for most of the second half, the Columbia College women’s basketball team upset No. 2-seeded Harris-Stowe 63-56 in overtime to advance to the championship game of the American Midwest Conference tournament.
Sophomore forward Rachel Oswald hit a 15-foot jump shot from the foul line with 40 seconds left to force the overtime.
“We ran a couple little sets for her, and she stepped up and did what a good player is supposed to do,” Columbia College coach Mike Davis said. “Good players step up in those moments.”
In overtime, Columbia College took over. The Cougars played stifling defense, holding Harris-Stowe to just two points in the 5-minute period.
The Cougars held Chanel Ross, Harris-Stowe’s leading scorer, without a single basket in the overtime after she scored 16 points in regulation.
“It was great,” sophomore guard Whitney Davis said. “I think we all just buckled down. That’s what we had to do.”
The game was close throughout, with neither team leading by more than five at any point in regulation.
In the first half, Ross had four steals and her defensive pressure had the Columbia College offense off balance. Whitney Davis especially struggled with Ross’ pressure, committing five turnovers in the first half.
In the second half and overtime, the Cougars regained their composure.
“In about the last 10 minutes of that game, we buckled down and said ‘We’re just going to go attack you,’” Mike Davis said. “When we did that, then we got a few fouls called, and I thought that changed some of the tempo of the ball game too.”
Foul trouble plagued the Hornets in second half and overtime, forcing them to become less aggressive defensively. Harris-Stowe had one player foul out and three others finish with four fouls.
Columbia College travels to McKendree on Saturday for the AMC championship game. McKendree has defeated Columbia College twice this season, and the Cougars say they are eager for a rematch.
“We bought ourselves one more ball game tonight,” Mike Davis said. “It’s right back into the saddle and getting ourselves ready to go.”