Last Modified: Monday, April 01, 2013 2:16 PM
DETROIT — It was like watching the basketball equivalent of a pool shark.
After playing the entire first half as a one-woman act, top-seeded Detroit hit No. 8 McNeese State with an unexpected outside barrage in the second half to pull away for a 73-62 win in the Women’s Basketball Invitational championship game at Calihan Hall on Saturday afternoon.
The loss ended the Cowgirls’ version of a Cinderella run after three consecutive road wins to reach the final.
“We gave a lot of effort and represented McNeese very well,” said Cowgirls coach Brooks Donald Williams. “I’m very proud of this team making it to a championship game of postseason play.”
The Titans (21-13) went 7 of 12 (58.3 percent) from 3-point range in the second half after hitting 2 of 15 from long-range before halftime.
“They did a great job of coming back and playing with a lot of energy and intensity in the second half,” Donald Williams said. “It really wore on us … they hit some big momentum shots even when we hit some on the other end.”
Detroit’s offense was built entirely around post player Shareta Brown in the first half. Though she was nearly unstoppable in scoring 18 of the Titans’ 28 points on 8 of 9 shooting from the field, it was McNeese that held a two-point lead at the break.
That quickly changed as Detroit drained three straight 3-pointers to open the second half with a 16-2 run.
“Our game plan was to stop (Brown) and hope their role players wouldn’t hit shots,” said senior guard Ashlyn Baggett. “They hit shots. They deserved to win.”
Detroit’s shots did as much damage to the Cowgirls (21-15) psychologically as they did on the scoreboard — most of the Titans’ scoring came in the final 10 seconds of the shot clock.
“We couldn’t get a stop. I felt we played pretty good defensively and they were still able to get a shot off at the end of the shot clock,” Donald Williams said. “It was like a dagger to the heart.”
“That’s a lot of defense to be playing,” Ashlyn said. “For the most part we did pretty well on defense, and then they’d make the shots. It was frustrating.”
The door was left open ever so slightly in the last 2 minutes.
Nursing a 67-59 lead, Detroit went to the free-throw line on three consecutive possessions only to miss the front end of a 1-and-1. But the weary Cowgirls weren’t able to kick that door down, missing four consecutive shots on the other end before Brown hit two free throws to put the Titans up 10 with 44 seconds left.
“We had good opportunities,” said Caitlyn Baggett. “They just defended well and overplayed in the last two minutes. We couldn’t hit any shots.”
Ashlyn Baggett finished with a team-high 22 points in her final career game, while Caitlyn added 16 points, eight assists and five rebounds. Both shot 50 percent from the field.
McNeese shot an identical 37.9 percent (11 of 29) in both halves.
Detroit went 14 of 25 (58.3 percent) from the field in the second half after shooting 36.4 percent (12 of 33) in the first half.
Posted By: Dennis J. Banta On: 3/31/2013
Title: Congradulations Cowgirls Basketball
Great season. Hard work produces results. You produced results. Never look back.