The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

Top Cat: Half Court Hero

With two seconds left on the shot clock, Ta’Kenya Nixon, sophomore guard, in-bounding the ball from under the basket and Kelsey Wyss, sophomore guard, near the half court line, Nixon tossed a lob pass away from their basket and to Wyss.

When Wyss got the ball, all she wanted to do was get off a shot and get rid of the ball.

As Wyss took the shot, Eastern head coach Brady Sallee was angry with Nixon, who he said should not have thrown the ball all the way to where Wyss was standing.

When Wyss released the ball, it was headed for the backboard, but Wyss said she didn’t think she would make it.

When the ball bounced off the backboard and into the net, Wyss didn’t know how to react.

“Even when it went in, I didn’t believe it went in, so I didn’t have a reaction I just kind of looked around for what to do next,” Wyss said.

The half-court shot, which stalled Missouri’s rally and made the game 52-48 in favor of Eastern, trigger a roar of screams from the fans and Panther bench players.

Sallee saw the ball go in, but at the time he said he couldn’t even enjoy the moment.

“I was so mad that Ta’Kenya had thrown it there because she wasn’t supposed to, that I couldn’t even enjoy the shot,” Sallee said.

Wyss said she couldn’t even smile about making the shot because she was in disbelief, so she said she just got back on defense as though she had made a normal three-point shot.

But in a close game, which Eastern ended up winning, Sallee and Wyss agreed that the shot was a critical play in the game.

“It stopped their run and showed us that things were going our way,” Wyss said.

Given the situation in the game and the result of the play, Sallee said there was no question that the half-court shot changed things.

“I don’t even know if you can even put into words how important that was because at the time I think it was a one-point game, they had a little momentum and I think that clearly took some wind out of their sails,” Sallee said.

However, as Missouri mounted a comeback on Eastern, Sallee said the play could’ve swayed the game in a completely different direction.

Sallee said if Wyss would have missed the shot, the team would’ve turned the ball over without getting a good look at the basket. Sallee said that could’ve given Missouri more momentum.

“But hey, bigger plans than what we had,” Sallee said. “That ball went where someone else wanted it to go and it went in thank goodness.”

After the game, Wyss didn’t get too overly excited about the shot. Wyss was 1-for-2 from three-point range, the half-court shot being the only three-pointer she converted.

“It is what it is,” Wyss said.

But a shot like that is something Sallee hasn’t seen in his 18 years of coaching. He said he has never coached a player who had made a shot like that until this season, when Nixon hit a 70-footer in a scrimmage and Wyss hit the shot Sunday.

Sallee said he would like to take credit for the shot, or at least say its something that the team has been working on, but he said he couldn’t do that.

“That’s a pretty cool deal, especially in the game the way it was,” Sallee said. “But that’s one of those neat things about athletics that you see on ESPN or something like that.”

Sallee said the video footage of Wyss’ shot was sent to ESPN and had a chance to appear on the TV network sometime Tuesday.

Alex McNamee can be reached at 581-7944 or [email protected].

Top Cat: Half Court Hero

Top Cat: Half Court Hero

Kelsey Wyss, sophomore guard, made a 3-point, half court shot against the University of Missouri on Sunday. (Seth Schroeder


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