Senior Sarah Robinson hit the game winning shot with 1.1 seconds left after recording her 1,000th career rebound, Head Coach Rich Aubrey picked up his 500th coaching victory, and the Milligan College women’s basketball team prevailed 60-59 over Appalachian Athletic Conference foe Montreat College Thursday night on the road.
The win was Milligan’s third straight and 10th over the last 11 games, improving the Buffaloes to 19-4 (17-2 AAC). Milligan remained two games back of the conference lead.
ROBINSON, AUBREY REACH PRESTIGIOUS MILESTONES
Robinson’s 1,000th career rebound came midway through the fourth quarter when every rebound, basket and possession was big. She followed minutes later with the biggest basket of the night, sinking a 3-pointer from the right wing in front of the Milligan bench as time was winding down, putting the Buffs on top 60-59.
Robinson, who recorded her 1,500th career point only a few games ago, entered the game six rebounds away from 1,000. She recorded six to go along with a team high 20 points.
Robinson now is roughly 200 points out of the top five in Milligan history for scoring and No. 4 all-time in rebounding. In fact, Robinson is in very good company in both categories. Only Becky Sells, the NAIA Division II rebounding leader with 1,649 career rebounds, Heather Mandela (1,272) and Glenda Blevins (1,104) rank ahead of Robinson in the all-time rebounding category.
Aubrey, who is the No. 5 winningest active coach in the NAIA, picked up his 500th coaching win to move his all-time record to 500-329 (60.3%). It took Aubrey less than five years to go from No. 400 to No. 500, as the 26th-year Milligan head coach won his 400th career game Feb. 5, 2014, at home over Truett McConnell University, 61-44. Aubrey has won 64 percent of his games since No. 400, and his program has won 18 or more games in 13 of the last 14 seasons.
BUFFS WEATHER LATE STORM, PREVAIL IN END
Milligan and Montreat (9-13, 8-11 AAC) went back and forth through the first quarter until a 5-0 run put Milligan at a 23-14 advantage. Emily Kiser followed with a three shortly thereafter to make it 28-17, Milligan’s largest lead of the game until that point. Teal Davis made a three a couple of minutes later to help send Milligan into the half ahead 32-23.
It looked to be smooth sailing from there, as Milligan built its lead out to 12 before heading to the fourth quarter up 46-35.
Montreat, however, trimmed it back and even had a favorable advantage in the closing seconds. It started with a 6-0 Montreat run to start the fourth, and the Lady Cavaliers followed with runs of 4-0 and 6-0 later in the period. The latter run put the Cavs on top 53-52, and they even held a five-point lead, 59-54, with just over one minute left.
Robinson not only had the answer near the buzzer but also hit a three to cut it to 59-57 with 59.6 seconds left. In between her threes, Milligan made one crucial stop at the other end as part of its game-ending 6-0 run, Robinson scoring all six points.
Robinson was the first of three Buffs in double figures for scoring. Mackenzie Raizor followed next with 12 points and eight rebounds; Emma Kate Brown scored 10 points with three assists off the bench. Kiser scored eight, all in the first half.
For Montreat, Jala Daniels led all scorers with 22. Arianna Williams posted a double-double with 18 points and 11 boards.
Milligan returns home to Steve Lacy Fieldhouse Saturday for an AAC meeting with Allen University. It will be the first of three remaining home games for the Buffs this season.
Story and Photo courtesy of Milligan Athletics and Robert Kell.