Kingsville (kiii sports) – Despite struggling with its shooting all night Wednesday, the Texas A&M-Kingsville still had an opportunity in the closing seconds to send Southern Arkansas home with a loss but Sheana Jones missed a layin with two seconds left in a 1-point game as the Javelinas fell 76-73.
Kingsville trailed by 10 with 5:14 remaining before making a charge back in front thanks to strong defense and timely free throws. Down 69-59, the Javelinas Tonje Milde began a 13-2 run with a 3-point basket. After a SAU turnover, Milde fed Lindsey Mahone for a basket making it 69-64 with 4:49 left.
Mahone led all players with 27 points which is the most by a Javelina this season.
Following a bucket by the Lady Mulerider's Miranda Grier, Mahone struck again for the Javelina. Ashley Viera, who spent several minutes on the bench with an injury, helped spark the rally by finding Michelle Wagner on the wing for a 3-point basket making it a 71-69 game.
Viera then stole the ball from Chanel Miller and connected with Mahone. Mahone drove to the basket and converted a 3-point basket to make it 72-71 Javelinas with 2:08 left.
Rosalie Cutri, who entered as the Hoggies top scorer, struggled with foul trouble much of the evening. She fouled out of the game with 1:58 remaining. Stevi Cooper hit both free throws to push the visitors back in front, 73-72.
After a swap of possessions, Mahone had a chance with 1:18 left to push the Javelinas back in front with a pair of foul shots. However, Mahone, who was 12-of-15 from the charity stripe, missed the first one before tying the game at 73 with the second.
Grier pushed SAU into the lead 74-73 hitting 1-of-2 free throws with 63 second left.
The teams would play hot potato over the next 40 seconds as each team turned the ball over twice. The last of the turnovers was a steal by Mahone, who matched Cutri's season-high of six, with eight seconds left.
After a timeout, Jones was given a driving lane to the hoop but could not get the bucket to go down. Kingsville fouled immediately and with less than one second Courtney Lindsey sealed the win with a pair of free throws.
The Muleriders led 42-31 with 2:49 left in the opening half. However, the Javelinas scored the final eight points of the half to make it a 42-39 contest at the intermission.
The Javelinas shot just 29.9% from the field in the contest. However, the Hoggies were able to get to the foul line 38 times in the game. Kingsville hit 26-of-38 attempts. Southern Arkansas finished the contest by hitting 41.2% from the floor, but was just 19-of-32 at the stripe.
Turnovers in the contest were about even as was the rebounding. Kingsville forced 29 turnovers, but had 26 of its own. SAU finished with 21 steals led by Mariam Ridgewell's six. Led by Grier, who had a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards, Southern outrebounded Kingsville 53-46.
Aside from Mahone's 27, Rita Banaszczak had 11 points and a team-best nine rebounds. Jones had nine points for the Hoggies. Bravion Cooper had 10 points joining Grier in double figures for the visitors.
Kingsville returns to the court on Saturday at 7 p.m. when it travels to Texas A&M International.
--Aaron Ames Texas A&M-Kingsville Sports Information Director