Glenville, West Virginia — 1 rebound, 1 second.
That was the difference between the IUP Women’s Basketball Team. The difference between winning and losing. The difference between moving forward and going home in an NCAA tournament.
The IUP season ended on Friday in the most bitter way of the buzzer beater.
Ciaira Loyd of California made the final second putback layup, beating the Vulcans 52-51 over the IUP in the first round of the Atlantic Regional tournament at the Waco Center.
It was a classic march madness moment, but the IUP was on the other side of it.
“It’s March. Every time I turn on my TV, I see someone win the buzzer in the last couple of weeks,” said IUP coach Tom McConnell.
“And when you dream of playing, you always see yourself on the winner’s side and celebrate with that shot, so the different emotions I’m experiencing right now to be on this side We have a lot.”
Entering the final moment of play, IUP (21-9) led 51-48. California (25-5) was 51-50 with a free throw of 39.0 seconds remaining.
The Crimson Hawks failed to score on the next possession — this proved to be their last — and the Vulcans regained their possession in 10.5 seconds.
Lloyd drove the baseline and missed her first layup attempt. With wild scrambling under the IUP basket, Lloyd ended up with an aggressive rebound and putback layup in just 0.6 seconds.
IUP needed another defensive rebound, reducing the number of seconds on the clock by one second.
“I was trying to lay up and my teammates returned the layup so I was right there,” said Lloyd, who scored the game’s highest 16 points. “No one was protecting me, so I raised it. Lucky. Lucky.”
“Man, it was a fun game,” said California coach Jess Strom. “Whether it’s a PSAC playoff or an NCAA tournament, I feel like I’m always an IUP with us and every fight. It’s about who will play the last and make something of that nature. “
Lloyd’s aggressive rebound was the 17th and last match for the Vulcans. They had 12 offensive boards in the second half alone.
It was a familiar sight for the Crimson Hawks. In three meetings with IUP this season, Vulcans averaged 15.3 aggressive rebounds per game. That’s a big reason to win all three.
“They did a really good job, and we couldn’t hold the blockout, and when it came to it, we gave them too much extra possession.”
In addition, IUP has committed 23 turnovers. This is another Achilles heel of the Crimson Hawks this season.
“It usually comes down to two things: turnover and aggressive rebound,” McConnell said. “When you flip it over, you take possession from yourself, and when you give them a rebound, you only create more for them …. the last when you really need it. I couldn’t come up with anything. “
But before that happened, IUP had to recover in the fourth quarter.
California entered the fourth quarter, surpassing the Hawks 21-8 in the third quarter, turning a 6-point deficit into a nine-point lead 44-35.
IUP responded with a 16-4 run, building a 51-48 lead in less than two minutes to play.
“I was telling the girl at the time-out, we deserve to be here, so just play hard and play with the grit,” said IUP Senior Justina Mascaro. “I’m sure that execution has shown that we deserve to be here.”
Freshman Kiera Bowman had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Mascaro had 12 points and 9 rebounds.
The Hawks suppressed the defense, starting the final quarter with a 9-2 run, and after falling within 46-44, a horrifying moment stopped the game for a few minutes.
After committing a common foul in the lane, California’s Dejah Terrell spun, frustrated and deflated. She wasn’t known to her, but IUP’s Alana Cardona was behind her, and Terrell was inadvertently connected to Cardona’s face.
PSAC West Athletes of the Year Terrell was disqualified for a terrible foul and spent the last 4:45 in the locker room. Rajah Fink gave the IUP a 47-46 lead by making three out of four free throws when play resumed.
Even without the best players, California found a way to overcome the three-point deficit in the last minute.
“When Deja had to get out of the game, they became a kind of gathering for her. I heard some of them saying,” Then I’m going to win for Deja. ” I know. I don’t think she had to say anything. “
In the case of IUP, the issue is the loss and the way it occurred.
“We are very disappointed with the results,” McConnell said. But what we carry and what we have experienced will last a lifetime. “
Hawks lose heartbreaker in regional tournaments | Sports
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