Culver-Stockton women take defending NAIA champs to overtime before suffering road defeat

Culver women v Clarke

Clarke's Mya Merschman goes between Culver-Stockton's Katie Webb, left, and Aaliyah Ortiz during Wednesday night's women's college basketball game in Dubuque, Iowa. | Photo courtesy of Clarke Athletics

DUBUQUE, Iowa — The Culver-Stockton College women’s basketball team gave nationally-ranked and defending NAIA national champion Clarke University all it could handle Wednesday night before losing 73-70 in overtime in a Heart of America Athletic Conference game at the Kehl Center.

The Wildcats led 52-43 entering the fourth quarter. However, the fifth-ranked Pride outscored the visitors 20–11 in the final 10 minutes to force overtime, then 10-7 in the extra session.

C-SC had a chance to win the game in regulation. The score was tied at 63 after a basket by Clarke with 26 seconds left. The Wildcats worked the clock to less than five seconds when Avery Oetting made a move toward the basket but lost the ball on a turnover. The Wildcats pleaded with the officials for a foul call with no luck.

In the overtime, the score was tied with 89 seconds left. Each team failed to score on its respective possessions, but the Pride grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled. Taylor Norris drained both free throws to give the hosts a 69-67 edge with 41 seconds to play.

On its ensuing possession, C-SC had three chances to tie the game. Katie Webb missed a shot, and Nevaiah Bell-Tenner grabbed the offensive rebound and missed her attempt at tying the game. C-SC’s Delaney Straus grabbed another offensive rebound, but a turnover gave the ball to the Pride with 20 seconds left.

Two Clarke free throws extended the lead to 71-67. Oetting followed with a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left, but the Pride made two more free throws with six seconds left. The Wildcats missed a shot at the buzzer to end the game.

Aaliyah Ortiz led the Wildcats with 20 points, matching her season-high. She added six assists, four rebounds and three steals. Webb, Oetting and Bell-Tenner added 11 points each.

The Wildcats (8-13, 7-10 in the Heart) return home to face Benedictine College on Saturday. C-SC is in a four-way tie for sixth place in the conference.

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