Danielle Holt saved the McPherson College women’s basketball season.
Holt’s basket with 6 seconds remaining here Saturday afternoon, off a thread-the-needle pass from Cami Richardson, enabled the Bulldogs to escape with a 55-54 victory over a York College team that has won just one game all season.
The Bulldogs are now 8-12 in the KCAC, a game back of 9-11 Oklahoma Wesleyan and Southwestern for the eighth and final playoff spot. The Bulldogs have games left next week at Ottawa and then at home against Southwestern and Mac coach Gordon Reimer said his team probably has to win out to just have a chance.
The Bulldogs nearly let this one get away. After leading by as many as 11 points in the second half, they saw York storm back behind a barrage of 3-pointers, the last with 16 seconds left by Jesse Poneoma, her only basket of the game, which gave York a 54-53 lead.
But the Bulldogs calmly set up the winning play and Holt had to hit a twisting layup for the Bulldog win.
“Danielle only made two baskets all game and they both came off the same play,” Reimer said. “So I was really happy Danielle was able to finish the play. The pass has to be really good and Cami put it right where it had to be.”
Mac was down 14-9 after a quarter, but appeared to take control of the game with a 19-7 second quarter. But the longer it allowed the Panthers to hang around, the more energized they became and they made 8 3-pointers in the second half.
Steady Brooklyn Coe led Mac with 14 points and Richardson had 10, along with 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals.
Emma Van Donselaar provided a spark off the bench with 5 clutch points after the Panthers had tied the game at 44-all. Brooke Zimmerman also had 6 points and 6 rebounds off the bench.
Jacquiline Esquivel led York with 11 as the Panthers are now 1-19 in the KCAC.
Mac (55) — Holt 4, Battle 6, Coe 14, Racette 7, Richardson 10, Van Donselaar 5, Kelly 3, Zimmerman 6.
York (54) — Wilson 5, Fike 5, Maher 2, Esquivel 11, Mosely 1, Scofield 3, Pittman 2, Grauberger 6, Manjarrez 8, Poneoma 3, Kleber 8.
• YORK MEN 74, MAC 69 — The Mac men were officially eliminated from the KCAC playoff race, but not before they gave second-place York a mighty scare.
Mac fell to 6-14 in the KCAC and 12-16 overall, though they have gone 5-4 the second time through the conference.
On several occasions York appeared to have the game in hand, only to see the Bulldogs muster a rally each time. After being down as many as 14 in the second half, Mac drew within three with numerous chances to tie, but went just 5 of 29 from beyond the arc.
Mac’s DeAndre Henson had a monster game with 25 points and 12 rebounds and Grant Raleigh had 10. Cameron Coleman had a tremendous game for York with 29 points and 15 rebounds as he was simply too big, strong and agile for the Bulldogs to contain.
“You’ve got to make shots,” said Mac coach Tim Swartzendruber said. “It’s just one of those things. York plays in spurts. I thought overall we defended well and fought our butt off on every possession. We made them work for the most part. Cameron Coleman is a big-time player and he was outstanding.”
York had scored 115 points in the first meeting between the teams and probably is the most athletic team in the conference, especially in the size department. But the Bulldogs limited them to just 3 of 21 from beyond the arc.
Mac goes to Ottawa on Thursday, then finishes the season at home Saturday against Southwestern.
Mac (69) — Gurley 2, Henson 25, Bachura 7, Raleigh 10, Owen 2, Munsen 4, Giron 4, Ellison 3, O’Hara 4, Butler 8.
York (74) — Mack 11, Coleman 29, Lenear 4, Cooksey 8, Smith 2, Johnson 13, Malbrough 3, Tripplett 2, Dean 2.