The Urbana University women’s basketball team held on Saturday to defeat Shepherd, 79-78, after Sylvia Hudson knocked down a free throw with two seconds left in the MEC contest at the Grimes Center.
UU improved to 9-5 overall and 7-3 in league play, adding cushion for its seat in third place in the conference standings. The Blue Knights also remain one game behind second-place Notre Dame (OH), which UU hosts this Saturday. Shepherd fell to 8-8 (4-6 MEC) on the year.
Four Blue Knights notched double figures in scoring including seniors Stefanie Davis and Jazmyn Haley leading the way with 15 points each. Davis produced a double-double with 10 assists, becoming the first Blue Knight with 10 or more assists since Ciara Geiger had 10 against Ursuline on Feb. 11, 2012.
Hudson scored 14 with a team-high six boards while sophomore Weston Minnich came up big with a career-high 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting in 14 minutes off the bench. Senior Danie Shafer and junior Megan Beachy each chipped in nine points.
SU guard Morgan Arden, the league’s leading scorer, put up 25 points (10-17 FG) with eight assists to pace the Rams.
The gritty MEC matchup featured a season-low number of 3-pointers attempted (24) in a UU game this season, as both teams attacked the paint. UU outscored SU on points in the paint, 40-38.
Overall, UU shot 46 percent while the visitors made 51 percent of their shots. The Rams went 20 of 23 at the line and the Blue Knights finished 14 of 20.
UU led by as much as eight in the third quarter when Davis’ layup near the end of the period made it 57-49. The Rams responded and trimmed the deficit to four entering the final quarter with UU ahead 59-55.
UU held on to its lead until a Shepherd layup tied the score at 73-73 with 2:16 left in regulation. Then, the game turned into a foul-shooting contest. SU took a three-point lead 77-74 with 1:16 remaining but UU eventually evened things back up on Davis free throws with under a final minute.
Following a Ram turnover, Hudson made the front end at the line with two seconds left. A dramatic ending followed as Shepherd made a layup after advancing on a timeout, but the shot did not get off in time before the buzzer.
UU travels to West Liberty (6-10, 5-5 MEC) on Wednesday for a 5:30 p.m. tipoff in West Virginia. The Blue Knights defeated the Hilltoppers 92-84 on Nov. 29, when Stefanie Davis scored a school-record 38 points. WLU will be coming off a 27-point loss (90-63) Saturday at Concord.