The Lady Frogs pulled off a 56-55 come-from-behind win over the Oklahoma City University Stars in the closing seconds of the team’s final tune-up before the start of the regular season.
“We’re going to have to win some 65-58, 59 games,” head coach Jeff Mittie said. “While I spent a lot of the night frustrated, it was good to see us handle some things down the stretch.”
With 5.5 seconds left on the clock, the Lady Frogs came out of a timeout trailing 55-54. Sophomore Helena Sverrisdottir received the inbound pass in the post and was immediately double teamed and fouled as she went up for the shot, sending her to the free throw line with 3.4 seconds to play.
She sank the first and rattled the second home to take a 56-55 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Sverrisdottir led the team with 12 points and five assists and contributed eight rebounds as well.
The Lady Frogs’ previous lead came with 1:51 left in the first half.
“We played a lot harder in the last two minutes of the game than we did in the first part,” Sverrisdottir said.
Guard TK LaFleur hit a pair of 3-pointers down the stretch to pull the Lady Frogs within one.
Overall, the team struggled from the field.
“We weren’t shooting well at all tonight,” Sverrisdottir said. “We only shot 30 percent and we know that we can do better than that.”
LaFleur impacted the game at both ends of the court, finishing with 11 points, five rebounds, two assists and four steals.
Early in the first half, with the Stars attempting to capitalize on a TCU turnover with a fast break bucket, LaFleur intercepted a cross-court pass and set up guard Shayla Moore with a lay-up at the other end.
In the second half, LaFleur showcased her athletic ability by leaping up and snagging a Stars’ pass out of the air for another steal.
“She’s probably shaking some rust off too,” Mittie said. “First game in 16, 18 months. You come out and it’s almost all new again.”
LaFleur and forward Chantelle John were with the team last season, but didn’t play due to NCAA rules for transfer players.
Forward Rachel Rentschler, also a tranfer, was granted a waiver by the NCAA that allows her to play in her first season with the program. All three saw their first game action with the team tonight as members of the starting lineup. LaFleur played 39 minutes in her first appearance in the purple and white.
“It doesn’t feel like they just came here,” Sverrisdottir said. “We’re really close as a team.”
Despite a significant height advantage, the Stars outscored the Lady Frogs in the paint 22-18 and fought them hard on the boards as well, with the Lady Frogs having a 47-46 edge in rebounds. The Stars tallest player came in at 6 feet 1 inch, while the Lady Frogs had 7 players at the 6 feet 1 inch mark or taller.
Mittie said the Lady Frogs poor rebounding is a huge concern.
“That’s been something we’ve spent a lot of time on in the last week,” Mittie said. “We’re not very quick to the ball right now.”
The defense struggled to recognize the Stars best shooter, which also bothered Mittie he said.
“(Laura Duncan) came in as their best shooter and she left as their best shooter,” Mittie said.
Duncan led all scorers on the night with 19 points and went 5-9 from behind the 3-point line.
“We just need to play harder in all angles of the game,” Sverrisdottir said. “We can see now that there’s a lot of things we can work on.”