It would have been an upset for the ages.
When Southwestern College's 11th-ranked women scored 21 points in the first 6 1/2 minutes here Wednesday, it appeared McPherson College was well on its way to being run out of the Sport Center.
But Mac, which lugged a seven-game losing streak into the game and was 0-for-2014, proceeded to charge back and wound up taking the KCAC leader down to the wire before the Moundbuilders escaped town with a 73-67 victory, completing a 9-0 run through the first half of the conference schedule.
It was a courageous performance by the Bulldogs, who were coming off perhaps their most desultory effort of the year in being Bethany College's only KCAC victim.
Mac and Southwestern were tied as late as 2:55 left in the game before the veteran Moundbuilders realized the severity of the situation to close the game on an 11-5 run for the deceiving victory.
"We played our best game of the year," said Mac coach Gordon Reimer, whose team would have shook the KCAC to its foundation had it been able to complete the upset. "We didn't turn the ball over. Normally we turn it over 20 some times and tonight we had only 12. Like I told them after the game, when we take care of the ball we can be in the game with teams."
The difference in the game was the 3-pointer, as the Moundbuilders shoot it like no other, including a trey by Sheri Zoglmann with 36 seconds left that doubled Southwestern's three-point lead. It finished the game draining 12 of 27, while Mac was just 7 of 27, 2 of 12 in the second half.
"They ended up the game shooting the ball really well," Reimer said of Southwestern. "They made 12 3s and they came into the game averaging 10. We knew they would make some. They have great shooters and great players. There's just no weakness on that team."
Aubrey Barton, despite battling a respiratory problem that Reimer thought would limit her minutes, was a force for Mac with 20 points and eight rebounds. Bailey Brown had a nice floor game with six assists and only one turnover in 33 minutes.
"She played just awesome," Reimer said of Barton, noting she's capable of being as good a player as there is in the conference. "I thought all of them played really well, it was a team effort."
Jana Reichenberger led four Moundbuilders in double figures with 12 points.
The loss was the eighth straight for the 7-14 Bulldogs and sixth in a row in conference play after they had started 3-0.
The Bulldogs begin the second round of KCAC play Saturday at Bethel, a team they defeated 70-46 last month at the Sport Center.
Mac (67) — Barton 20, Engelbert 7, Gillespie 8, Brown 5, Jefferson 7, Short 7, Smart 9, Atkins 4.
Southwestern (73) — Bryan 2, Reichenberger 12, Shaker 7, Je. Hobbs 11, Zoglmann 11, Rickey 2, Tennyson 5, Rieger 11, Jo. Hobbs 5, Lovell 7.