Last second shot lifts Redhawks over Panthers 51-48

Freshman+Taylor+Steele+makes+a+move+just+past+half+court+to+slip+by+an+Austin+Peay+defender+in+Eastern%E2%80%99s+75-66+loss+Jan.+20+in+Lantz+Arena.
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Last second shot lifts Redhawks over Panthers 51-48

Freshman Taylor Steele makes a move just past half court to slip by an Austin Peay defender in Eastern’s 75-66 loss Jan. 20 in Lantz Arena.

Freshman Taylor Steele makes a move just past half court to slip by an Austin Peay defender in Eastern’s 75-66 loss Jan. 20 in Lantz Arena.

Sean Hastings

Freshman Taylor Steele makes a move just past half court to slip by an Austin Peay defender in Eastern’s 75-66 loss Jan. 20 in Lantz Arena.

Sean Hastings

Sean Hastings

Freshman Taylor Steele makes a move just past half court to slip by an Austin Peay defender in Eastern’s 75-66 loss Jan. 20 in Lantz Arena.

JJ Bullock, Assistant Sports Editor

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Southeast Missouri guard Ashton Luttrull made a game-winning three-point shot at the buzzer to play in the fourth quarter, handing the Eastern women’s basketball team a 10th straight loss Wednesday.

Luttrull received an inbound pass after a timeout, turned and made the game-icing jumper. For her team, the shot snapped a three-game losing streak and padded their position in the conference playoff race.

For the Panthers, it’s another tough loss in a season that has been filled with tough breaks for first year head coach Matt Bollant and his young team. Despite that, Bollant feels his team played their hearts out in a game where he says “it just didn’t happen.”

Eastern guard Karle Pace missed a shot with about one second to play, and the Redhawks’ Deja Jones came down with the rebound and retained possession of the ball. Jones called a time out for Southeast Missouri, advancing the ball to half court.

It was then that Luttrull received an inbound pass, turned and made the game-winning shot.

On that final shot, Southeast Missouri screened the Panthers and Bollant said his team just did not do a great job of switching off it.

“We were supposed to be switching everything and we didn’t really see it,” Bollant said.

The two teams swapped the lead twice in the final 30 seconds of the game. Eastern junior guard Carmen Tellez made a layup with 31 seconds to play to give the Panthers a 48-47 lead.

Then, a foul by Eastern’s Grace McCrae with 23 seconds to play, sent Jones to the line for two shots. She made just one of the free throws and tied the score at 48.

On the final possession for the Panthers, the goal was to get the ball to Pace and run a ball screen for her and get a post player on her, which the Panthers did; however, there was some contact when Pace came off the screen, but she made it past the first player only to find a helping Redhawk defender in her path.

When Pace took a five-foot pull up shot and missed it, Jones came down with the rebound.

“(Pace) did a good job of being patient, she took it with two seconds on the clock, it was the right time to take it, it was the right shot and she led us in scoring. It was the right kid to take the shot,” Bollant said.

Bollant said the team was down in the locker room but told them to keep their chins up because “life is not fair always.”

Pace had a game-high 16 points, as she continues to be the Panthers’ top scoring threat and for Southeast Missouri, guard Tesia Thompson had a team-high 13 points.

Bollant was happy to see a 12-point performance from junior Carmen Tellez in the game. Tellez has had an up and down season offensively, so the good performance from her was a welcome sign.

“We needed her offensively. Scoring doesn’t come easy for us, so she is someone that can score the basketball,” Bollant said.

The loss drops Eastern to 1-14 in the OVC and gives the Redhawks a much-needed win as they move to 7-8 in the conference.

Eastern’s next game is Saturday at 4 p.m. on the road against Tennessee-Martin.

JJ Bullock can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]