SHERMAN, Texas – The Austin College women's basketball team trailed at halftime, but the 'Roos fought back to earn a 69-59 victory over visiting Southwestern on Friday night in Hughey Gym. The win is the fourth in a row for the 'Roos, who improve to 15-7 overall and 9-3 in Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference play.
Both teams got out to sluggish starts in the first quarter, with the game square at 5 apiece until a Katie Gowdy three put Austin College ahead 8-5 with 4:51 on the clock. Austin College went ahead 13-11 before Southwestern got a pair of free throws late in the quarter, but Kali Vittallo beat the buzzer for a three pointer to make it 16-13 after one.
The 'Roos scored the first seven points of the second quarter to take a 23-13 lead on a Chrissy Ray basket with 6:10 left before halftime. Bryce Frank's basket made it 29-22 with 3:23 left, but Southwestern scored the next six to pull to within one. Briana Harvey's basket made it 31-28 late in the quarter but the Pirates scored seven unanswered to head into the break leading 35-31.
A Kendall Heitmeier three pointer pulled the 'Roos to within two at 39-37 early in the third, and after Vittallo followed her own missed three with a putback, Gowdy intercepted the ensuing inbounds pass and laid it in to give Austin College a 41-39 lead with 5:44 left in the quarter. The teams would grade baskets before two free throws from Vittallo sent Austin College into the fourth leading 49-48.
Gowdy knocked down another three to push the margin to 58-52 with 6:35 left in the game, but Southwestern would battle back and pull to within four at 63-59 with 50 seconds left. However, that's the last time the Pirates would get on the board and Austin College knocked down six free throws in the closing moments to get the victory.
Heitmeier scored 13 points and grabbed four rebounds for the 'Roos, and Vittallo finished with 11 points and four assists. Gowdy added 10 points in a balanced scoring effort, as 10 different players put points on the board for the 'Roos. Ray finished with nine points and six rebounds and Caitlyn Collins added eight points.
Audrey Garcia led all scorers with 17 points for Southwestern, and Olivia Podaras added 16 for the Pirates. Tori Carraway came off the bench to contribute 13 points and nine rebounds.
Austin College will be looking for another win tomorrow when they host Texas Lutheran at 6:00 p.m. The 'Roos and Bulldogs are currently tied for second in the SCAC standings with two conference games left to play.
Austin College athletic teams participate as a member of the NCAA Division III and the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.