The Braves defied all odds Friday night by overcoming a 15-point deficit in the final two and a half minutes. Bradley (6-4) outscored sixth place Indiana State, 21-3, in the last 4:08 at Renaissance Coliseum Friday night to complete a come from behind 81-80 victory.
“I have never been speechless after a game,” head coach Andrea Gorski said. “We need to send it to SportsCenter.”
In a game where the Braves struggled to contain its visitors, they came out on top thanks to freshman Lasha Petree’s 14 points in the final 2:27 of the contest.
Petree finished with 18 points on the game with three steals in 18 minutes of action off the bench. All three steals came within a 41-second span in the fourth quarter.
“It kinda just came to me,” Petree said of her late game heroics. “I was watching [the Indiana State player’s] eyes on the inbound and got those steals and knew I had to knock down those shots.”
Sophomore Gabi Haack led all scorers with 20 points. She was proud of her freshman teammate for persevering and leading her team to victory after luck didn’t go her way for the first three quarters.
“Lasha had an outstanding last couple of minutes,” Haack said. “She just played her little heart out. That’s just what Lasha does. For her to take those shots even though she was struggling a little bit was really good.”
On the other hand, Gorski said it was the poorest defensive effort this season until the last couple minutes. Bradley, tied with the Sycamores at 39 apiece at halftime, had nine turnovers and struggled to beat Indiana State’s full court press.
“We let them trap us,” Gorski said. “It was either we got a layup or turnover.”
The Sycamores outscored Bradley 31-15 in the third quarter, but the Braves battled back, totaled 27 in the final quarter against Indiana State’s 10. Sycamores forward Ty Battle hit a jumper to tie the game at 80 with 8.4 seconds remaining.
Petree soon took the final lead with seven seconds at the free-throw line and junior Chelsea Brackman blocked the final shot as the arena erupted in cheers while the team rushed the court to celebrate.
In the post-game press conference, Gorski said she thought the “ferocious comeback” was a dream.
“I always think [three-point shots] are going in when Lasha and Gabi shoot them,” Gorski said. “Lasha has a lot of confidence. Nothing is going to slow her down; she wants to win. When you get down by a lot, you start doubting yourself and we have some players on our team, especially Lasha, that [are] never going to doubt themselves. They are going to step up when they can for the team.”
Bradley will host a winless Evansville at 2 p.m. Sunday in Peoria and looks to solidify a spot in the top half of the conference.