The Bradley women’s basketball team lost 59-58 after Eastern Illinois’ Kelsey Wyss hit a 3-pointer in the left corner with 9.6 seconds left, dropping the Braves to a 1-1 record this year.
“Well I was just disappointed,” coach Paula Buscher said. “I thought we had our chances to extend the lead and put them away, and we gave up at least four offensive rebounds on the free throw line and just some little things like that. We really need to do a better job defensively, on the boards and in taking care of the ball offensively.”
It was a sluggish start for both teams as each team committed 14 turnovers into a 29-29 halftime score.
The Panthers grabbed momentum in the second half with a 10-0 run, before senior Leah Kassing and the Braves fought back.
Kassing earned an old-fashioned three-point play to swing momentum back to the Braves and added four of the final six points for Bradley.
After the Braves missed the front-end of a one-and-one free throw, Wyss nailed a 3-pointer to give the Panthers a 59-58 lead.
Senior Mackenzie Westcott pumped faked, and had a clean look as time expired, but the ball bounced off the rim for the loss.
“While we were bringing it down, [Westcott] popped up to get it, and we either had Catie O’Leary open off of a flare screen, and [Westcott] had a good look at it too,” Buscher said. “I was pleased and I thought it was a good shot, but it just didn’t fall.
Kassing topped the Braves with 15 points, one short of her career-high. Wescott added a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
“We had our opportunities, just take the last three minutes, and look at all of the opportunities we had,” Buscher said. “But, the game didn’t come down to that, I just felt we didn’t dig down and play defense like we did [Saturday].”
Saturday, the Braves opened their season with a 59-49 win against Northern Colorado. Sophomore Catie O’Leary led the Braves with 15 points, after sitting out all of last season due to the NCAA transfer rule.
O’Leary shot a perfect 10-for-10 at the free-throw line and led Bradley with nine rebounds.
Bradley heads on the road for four consecutive games and seven of its next eight.
The Braves are going to Rock Hill, S.C. this weekend to participate in the Winthrop Classic. The Braves will face Winthrop tonight at 5 p.m.