After senior Brittany Simmons made a two-point jumper with just six seconds remaining, putting Concordia up by two, Brooke Randall drove up the court and drew a foul.
“Often on a [made shot] I don’t want the defense to set up,” said Andrea Gorski, Eastern Oregon head coach. “I thought that was our best option – take it hard to the whole and get to the free-throw line.”
Randall tied the game at 59 with 0.6 seconds remaining by hitting both of her free-throws, and sent the game into overtime.
“Free throws have been our worst and our best friends this year, I don’t know why I choose to make the most important two but I’m glad I did,” Randall said.
The Mountaineers then made eight consecutive free-throw attempts, which eventually gave them a 65-61 lead with a minute-and-a-half remaining.
Randall dove for the ball with nine seconds left to regain possession for the Mountaineers and secured their bid to the NAIA quarterfinals.
“My team is tough,” Gorski said. “We’ve had a lot adversity this year and an accumulation of just going through a tough long season probably prepared us all for it. It definitely prepared Brooke [Randall].”
Randall shattered her nose in Eastern Oregon’s previous game against Ave Maria and wore a protective face-guard for the majority of the game. She took off her face-guard in the final minutes of the second half to improve her vision.
“It’s just a nose,” Randall said. “I’ll sacrifice for my teammates any day.”
Randall led the game in scoring with 18 points, while senior Kyle Miller scored 17 for the Mountaineers and Concordia’s junior Hannah Sabol scored 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Both teams significantly struggled in shooting for the first nine-and-a-half minutes. During that time Concordia shot 0-12, while Eastern Oregon made two of their 11 attempts.
“We’re talking a lot on defense and boxing it out,” Randall said. “They had a ton of scorers on their team an we just had to keep them under their average and we would be successful today.”
Both programs boosted their shooting percentages into the mid-twenties (Concordia with 23 percent and Eastern Oregon with 27 percent) and exchanged five lead changes for the remainder of the first half.
After senior Vintea Georges tied the game at 22 for Eastern Oregon with 1:30 remaining, Concordia went on a late 5-0 run and took a 27-22 lead at half.
Eastern Oregon’s Miller led the half in scoring with nine points, while senior Kortni Elsworth scored seven points for Concordia.
To get to the second round, Eastern Oregon upset No. 3 seed Ave Maria yesterday by a score of 66-58.
Eastern Oregon will now play the College of the Ozarks in the quarterfinals on Saturday at 3 p.m.
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