McPherson College’s women were 4.7 seconds away from sharing the KCAC basketball lead.
The Bulldogs led Ottawa 60-59 Tuesday night at the Sport Center and had a pair of free throw attempts to extend the lead to three.
But Reagan McClellan couldn’t convert either attempt. On the second miss, Ottawa secured the rebound and the ball ended up in the hands of Kaylee Williams, who let fly with a shot just past midcourt that hit at the top of the backboard, but somehow slammed in for the stunning 3-pointer at the buzzer and a 62-60 victory.
The Bulldogs were simply shellshocked by the turn of events as they missed a golden opportunity to stay in a tie at the top of the conference after being picked ninth in the preseason. They are now 2-1 in the KCAC and 3-6 overall with tough games looming ahead against Kansas Wesleyan and Friends.
“It’s a heartbreaker,” McPherson College coach Gordon Reimer said. “I feel really bad and I know our girls feel really bad because we thought we had that game won. To have someone bank in a long-distance shot to win it, good for her. I’m she’s going to have a great Thanksgiving break over the holiday, but it’s pretty much a heartbreaker for us.”
The Bulldogs had gotten off the deck, as they trailed by as many as 11 points in the third quarter after being down 34-27 at the half. But McClellan caught fire, sparking a Mac comeback that saw it pull even by the end of the third quarter at 46-all.
The Bulldogs pushed the lead to as many as six, 54-48, but four missed free throws down the stretch gave Ottawa just enough of a crack.
Ironically, the Braves also hit a buzzer-beater at the end of the first half as Alexa Beck drained a 3-pointer from the far corner.
Bailey Brown led the Bulldogs with 14 points, while McClellan and Ashton Bruner scored 10 apiece. McClellan also had five rebounds, four assists and four steals in a fine all-around performance.
Williams was the only Ottawa player in double figures with 17 points. The Bulldogs did a terrific defensive job on All-KCAC center Ashley Romig, holding her to two points as she was 0 of 7 from the field.
Mac has some time off as its next game is Dec. 3 at Kansas Wesleyan, which knocked off nationally ranked Oklahoma Wesleyan on Tuesday.
Mac (58) — Bruner 10, G. Smart 6, Brown 14, S. Smart 6, McClellan 10, Racette 2, Acklin 6, Allen 4.
Ottawa (60) — Romig 2, Williams 17, Thomas 9, Stewart 9, Hodison 8, King 3, Beck 6, Parton 6.