The hundreds of hours of practice, film work and travel can sometimes, cruely, come down to inches or seconds. Such was the fate of the Hillsdale College women's basketball team Friday night.
The Chargers led for nearly 30 of the game's 40 minutes, but lost to top-seeded Walsh University 72-70 in a Great Midwest Athletic Conference tournament semifinal at Alumni Arena in North Canton, Ohio. Hillsdale's season ends with a 17-13 record.
Walsh, the tournament host, outscored Hillsdale 22-15 in the fourth quarter and made just a few more shots down the stretch. Brittany Gray and Lauren Daffenberg each hit long 3-pointers in the game's final seconds, and two missed free throws by the Cavs gave Hillsdale one last chance to tie or win, with 3.4 seconds to go. The tean got a quality shot off, it just barely fell short.
The Chargers led this game for 29:31 and outscored the Cavs in each of the first three quarters. Hillsdale also dominated the boards, outrebounding Walsh 48-35, a total that included an incredible 20 offensive rebounds. The Chargers had a 22-14 edge in second-chance points, but the Cavs negated that with 40 points in the paint.
Playing her final collegiate game, Gray was magnificent, leading all scorers with 24 points. She went 6-for-12 on 3-point shots, finishing with a single-season school record 89 made 3-point baskets.
Senior Allie Dewire also wrapped up her career with a courageous effort, finishing with 15 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists. Daffenberg, a certain star of the next generation of Chargers, made three 3-point baskets and had 11 off the bench.