The women’s Prairie Fire basketball team (7-12, 5-9 MWC) fell to the Lake Forest Foresters (11-9, 9-6 MWC) 88-87 by way of a game-winning jumper within the final second of the game.
With five seconds left on the game clock, the Prairie Fire seemed about to escape Lake Forest with a hard-fought win. But a jumper by the Foresters’ Abby Wiedman with .7 seconds left sealed the heartbreaking loss.
“I thought we had won,” senior guard Kristin McDonald said. “There was no way they could get a shot up with .7 seconds on the clock. Unfortunately, I was wrong. … Those last few seconds were the worst feeling I’ve ever felt.”
With 18:16 remaining, sophomore Brittney Price burned the Foresters with a three pointer to cut into the lead and bring the Fire within two points. Yet this basket did not phase Lake Forest, as they responded with an 8-0 run.
“At the end of the first half, we got a lot of momentum and that gave us a push to start the second half with a large amount of energy,” sophomore Jodi Marver said. “We knew in the second half that the game could go either way … so we really worked hard to keep the lead.”
More runs ensued as the Foresters gained a 60-59 lead. Junior Chantal Heckman scored on a layup for the Fire, but the Foresters again went on a 6-0 run to take a 5-point lead.
“You could tell that we both wanted this win very badly and were going to fight until the last buzzer sounds,” McDonald said.
Knox went cold in the second half, shooting 28 percent and going 3-of-19 from distance. They did force an amazing 35 turnovers for 38 points in the game but could not get the win.
“The box score may show that LF won the game, but in my heart Knox won,” McDonald said.
The Prairie Fire’s next chance for a victory came Wednesday at home against rival Monmouth. Coach Emily Cline said of her team that they “did a great job of putting Saturday behind us. We came out there as ready to play as ever, with Saturday as the last thing in our mind.”
Knox proved that to be true at the outset of the game, driving furiously into the post with little resistance from the Fighting Scots. Monmouth responded with a run of their own, and with the half winding down, Knox was down 37-22. At that point, the Knox women decided it was time to wake up, hitting a bevy of threes to lead to a 17-4 run, closing the half only down 41-39.
“Our girls just stepped up,” Cline said. The shooters decided it was time to shoot, we played fantastic defense and had a great run.”
Cline told her team at the half that the game was in their hands. The Fighting Scots, however, came out stronger than did the Prairie Fire: Knox was out-rebounded 34-13 in the second half, aiding Monmouth to an easy 97-80 victory. Sophomore Katie White led the Prairie Fire with a career high 13 points, though her performance was overshadowed by double-doubles from Monmouth’s Zipporah Williams and Jasmine Johnson.
Despite the loss, Cline remained confident in her team, citing the fact that despite the fact that the team did not play well in the first half, they were still able to remain in the game. “These last few games, we need to capitalize on the positives we’ve created for ourselves. That being said, there’s absolutely no reason we can’t win our last three games,” she said.