Bessard’s game-winner puts Shockers back on track
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Wichita State women’s basketball head coach Linda Hargrove wanted to get the ball in the hands of sophomore forward Sabrina Lozada-Cabbage on the Shockers’ final possession.
Down by one and with seven seconds left to play against Evansville, Lozada-Cabbage did exactly what Hargrove and the Shockers had hoped.
Lozada-Cabbage caught the ball on the elbow from the sideline out of bounds, where she was swarmed by two Evansville defenders. With junior Rangie Bessard having an open lane to the basket, Lozada-Cabbage found the Shockers’ leading scorer for the game-winning layup.
“They’ve been doubling a lot down on the block for the most part of the game whenever any of our posts got it, so I was kind of expecting that,” Lozada-Cabbage said. “When Rangie, I saw the yellow jersey and said ‘give it to Rangie.’”
Shooting 53 percent from the floor, Evansville took a 21-17 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Shockers responded with two baskets by junior Tamara Lee and Bessard to take a two-point lead with 6:31 left in the second quarter.
The Purple Aces cut the lead to one before junior Angiee Tompkins drained a 3-pointer and got an offensive rebound to put the ball back in the basket, extended the Shockers’ lead 38-32 with 1:15 left in the second quarter.
Evansville snagged six offensive rebounds in the second quarter for five second chance points, cutting the WSU lead 38-37 at halftime.
“It seemed like one of the girls had three rebounds in one possession. That’s unacceptable,” Bessard said. “When we go against Drake and UNI, those are the differences between wins and losses. And that could’ve been the difference tonight.”
After trading baskets for the first three minutes of the third quarter, Evansville broke the tie off a 3-pointer by Brooke Dossett. Sophomore Sabrina Lozada-Cabbage quickly responded by scoring a layup off a steal and Bessard followed with a jump shot to give the Shockers a 48-47 lead with 5:18 left in the third quarter.
Baskets from Bessard and junior Diamond Lockhart pushed WSU’s lead out to five before a layup by Evansville’s Camary Williams and a free throw by Sara Dickey cut the lead within a basket.
Junior Aundra Stovall answered back by driving to the basket for a layup and drawing a foul, converting the free throw that gave WSU a 63-58 lead with 5:09 left.
A 3-pointer by Evansville’s Kerri Grasper cut WSU’s lead to two. Ace’s forward Sasha Robinson forced a turnover that resulted into two free throws by Dickey to tie the game up.
Grasper gave Evansville a two-point lead with a 3-pointer with 1:40 left to play.
“The thing that Evansville does is that they shoot the three really well,” Hargrove said. “Their best player, Sara Dickey, was only 1-6. Had she gone 2-6, they would’ve beaten us.”
Bessard scored 26 points while grabbing seven rebounds, making it 13 out of 14 games scoring in double figures. Tompkins, Lee and junior Keke Thompson each had eight points while Lozada Cabbage added six points with four rebounds and a team-high four assists.
“We played very tough late in the game when we lost the lead,” Hargrove said. “It was a different feeling than it was against Missouri State. We were able to make a defensive play and able to execute the play at the end of the game with the win.”
WSU (11-11, 6-5) wraps up the weekend with Southern Illinois on Sunday at 2 p.m. SIU trails WSU by two games for fourth place in the Missouri Valley Conference standings.