Women’s Basketball holds on to get by Ottawa 70-68

OTTAWA – LaMyah Ricks (JR/Shawnee Mission, Kan.) was very good all game long but saved her best for last.


Her two free throws with 5.9 seconds left propelled Kansas Wesleyan to a harrowing 70-68 Kansas Conference victory over Ottawa on Saturday night inside Wilson Field House.


Ricks, KWU’s irrepressible point guard, scored nine of her team-high 20 points the final 3 minutes, 54 seconds of the game including four free throws the final 29.2 seconds as the Coyotes survived Ottawa’s frantic comeback. She also had nine rebounds in the game.


“Twenty points and nine rebounds – that’s a big girl game from our point guard,” KWU coach Ryan Showman said on his postgame radio show. “She was just awesome, she made big plays when we needed them. Just so proud of her toughness.”


The Coyotes appeared to have things under control leading 53-45 after Tylieea Wallace (SO/Overland Park, Kan.)’s basket with 9:16 left in the game. The Braves, though, rallied and got within one on four occasions before pulling even 68-68 on two Cierra Brown free throws with 12.8 seconds left. Brown scored 15 in the fourth quarter that included three 3-pointers.


Crunch time was Ricks time, though.


After a KWU time out she was fouled and calmly made the two game-winning free throws. The Coyotes escaped as Ottawa’s Janiyah Hendricks missed a 3-pointer as the final horn sounded.


“We were able to do just enough at the end,” Showman said. “At the end of the day it just came down to making a few more plays and I’m just so dang proud of this team.”


Wallace had another big game with 16 points and eight rebounds while battling Ottawa’s 6-foot-3 post player Nicole Brown who had 18 points and 15 rebounds before fouling out in the final minute.


The first half was a see-saw battle until midway through the second quarter. Trailing 25-19 and teetering on the brink the Coyotes embarked on a 16-3 run led by Ricks who started it with back-to-back 3-pointers and scored 10 giving KWU a 35-28 lead 35 seconds before the break.


Cierra Brown’s three-point play with three seconds left got Ottawa within 35-31 at intermission, though.


Angel Roman (SO/Jacksonville, Fla.)’s 3-pointer and a basket by Angel Lee (SO/Grandview, Mo.) gave KWU its biggest lead, 49-38, with 3:57 left in the third quarter before Ottawa began its comeback.


Neither team shot particularly well. Wesleyan was 25 of 69 from the field (36.2 percent) and Ottawa 21of 53 (39.6 percent). KWU was 9 of 28 beyond the arc, Ottawa 5 of 20.


The Coyotes improved to 16-8 overall with their fifth consecutive victory and eighth in their last nine games. They’re 14-4 in the KCAC. Ottawa fell to 14-10 and 10-8.


The game was the 10th on the road in the last 13 for Wesleyan which is 10-5 away from home this season. The Coyotes close out the regular season with three of their last four inside Mabee Arena starting with a 6 p.m. contest Wednesday against Saint Mary.


The Spires (15-9, 11-7 KCAC) defeated Friends 62-49 Saturday in Leavenworth and have won five of their last six games.