A made 3-point field goal in the final 10 seconds of regulation sent the game to overtime and ultimately the Milligan College women’s basketball team to a 64-59 loss to Bluefield College in the Appalachian Athletic Conference opener Wednesday night in Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.
Milligan led by as many as 17 in the second half before a furious comeback from Bluefield sent the Buffs to defeat.
Bluefield’s comeback featured a 12-5 run to end the fourth quarter, and Kendal Cloninger capped it with a triple to tie the game at 53-53 in the closing seconds. Emily Kiser answered at the other end with a narrow miss as the game clock expired.
Milligan put 10 players in the scoring column, and a balanced effort saw only two reach double figures. Kaely Gose, who had a double-double midway through the third quarter, finished with team highs of 11 points and 11 rebounds. Lily Griffith tallied 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting.
Bailey Berry followed next with nine points, and Kiser and Lauren Baxter scored eight apiece.
Cierra Cook of Bluefield led all scorers with 22 points on 8-of-18 shooting.
Milligan and Bluefield traded baskets over the first four minutes of the opening quarter until a 3-pointer from Berry made it 6-4, Milligan, and the Buffaloes led for the rest of regulation. Back-to-back triples, these from Griffith, a few minutes later made it 14-4 to complete an 11-0 run, and Milligan went on to lead by as many as 15 in the first half.
A 3-pointer from Cali Weddle early in the third quarter brought Milligan’s lead up to 17, but Bluefield then answered with a 16-3 run to cut the game to four later in the same period.
In the fourth, Milligan took its lead back up to seven and even had a five-point advantage with less than two minutes left. However, a 3-pointer from Bluefield near the 90-second mark followed by Cloninger’s three as time wound down helped the Rams claw back.
Bluefield then used the momentum from the end of regulation to go out front early and never trail in overtime.
Milligan plays at home again Saturday in a nonconference tilt with Piedmont International University. Opening tip is set for 2 p.m. After that, the Buffs hit the road for the next three games and will not return home until Wednesday, Nov. 20.