#16 Saints Fall to #2 Davenport in WHAC Final Thriller; Next Up: NAIA Tournament

#16 Saints Fall to #2 Davenport in WHAC Final Thriller; Next Up: NAIA Tournament

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- The 16th-ranked Siena Heights women's basketball team gave No. 2-ranked Davenport all it could handle in Tuesday's Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Tournament final, but a Panther basket with four seconds remaining handed the Saints a 75-74 loss.

Sierra Calhoun finished with 21 points, including a go-ahead jumper with 14 seconds left to put SHU (25-8) ahead, 74-73, before Kia Frazier answered with the game-winning shot for DU (31-1). The Saints were unable to get off one final shot before the buzzer sounded.

Alexxis Knannlein added a double-double for Siena Heights, finishing with 17 points and 14 rebounds off the bench. Grace Howrigon had 17 points and seven assists.

The contest involved several momentum swings with each team trading blows until their final possessions.

Davenport broke open a close game in the first half with seven consecutive points -- the beginning of a 13-3 stretch -- to take a 34-22 lead. The Saints quickly responded with eight straight points, including a pair of Calhoun 3-pointers, to begin a 13-3 rally of their own and close their deficit to 37-35 at haltime.

Siena Heights briefly took the lead early in the second half, going up 40-39, but Davenport came back with six points of its own to grab a five-point lead.

Then, Calhoun and Knannlein scored seven and four points, respectively, during an 11-0 SHU streak as the visitors took a 54-47 advantage with 12:09 to go.

At that point, the Saints hit a cold stretch, which they eventually followed up with a hot streak.

Davenport enjoyed a 20-2 run, getting eight points from Brittany Johnson and seven from Alison Bouman. Johnson began and ended the run with 3-pointers -- the second which put the Panthers ahead, 67-56, with 5:54 to go.

Facing the 11-point deficit, the Saints went on a character-defining 14-2 run of their own that saw them go 5-for-5 from the field and 3-for-3 from the free-throw line. Howrigon had seven points during the stretch, which left SHU with a 70-69 lead.

Davenport's Alex Law got the home team back on top, 71-70, with 2:15 to go. Calhoun answered with a jumper before Kayleigh VanKeulen put Davenport ahead again, 73-72, with 1:29 left.

The teams did not score on their next two combined possessions. After that, Calhoun hit her jumper from the top of the circle and then Frazier hit the winner.

VanKeulen was DU's leading scorer with 16 points off the bench. Bouman finished with 15 points and six rebounds, Johnson contributed 12 points and seven rebounds, and Tiesha Stokes put in 11 points.

Each of the Saints' top scorers -- Calhoun, Knannlein and Howrigon -- went 7 of 13 from the field. SHU was 28 of 63 as a team (44.4 percent).

Both teams can look forward to the NAIA Division II Tournament selection show on Tuesday. They have secured automatic bids to the 32-team field, which will begin play on March 12 in Sioux City, Iowa.