Swopshire Helps Milwaukee To Victory In Final Seconds
Feb. 16, 2013
MILWAUKEE - Sophomore Janna Swopshire hit the go-ahead basket with just 4.9 seconds remaining as the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's basketball pulled out a thrilling 73-72 victory over Cleveland State University Saturday at the Klotsche Center.
The Panthers (6-16, 2-8 Horizon League) trailed the Vikings (12-13, 4-8 Horizon League) by five points with about four minutes to play, but rallied for the victory in a contest that featured 13 ties and 16 lead changes.
"We like to keep it interesting," Milwaukee head coach Kyle Rechlicz said. "We feel like we have been playing a lot better of late. We had a great game against Green Bay and played a really tough Youngstown State team to a two-point game. We knew if we played with the same toughness and intensity, we would have a chance to knock someone else off."
It wasn't over after Swopshire's late basket. Milwaukee was whistled for a foul on the inbounds play, but CSU missed the first free throw of a bonus situation and UWM rebounded. After another quick foul, the Panthers then also missed the first of a bonus situation but Cleveland State's long three at the buzzer went off the backboard.
Junior Angela Rodriguez led the team with 16 points, just missing a double-double after finishing with a season-high nine assists to just one turnover. Senior Sami Tucker added 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds, while sophomore Ashley Green was also in double-figures with 10 points.
Shalonda Winton led the Vikings with 24 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals. Haley Schmitt added a career-high 14 points on a perfect 7-for-7 day from the floor.
Rodriguez gave UWM a one-point advantage at 63-62 on a layup with just over seven minutes to go before Cleveland State would jump back ahead. A 7-2 spurt capped an 18-5 run and gave the visitors a five-point cushion and momentum. But it was Rodriguez again, hitting a jumper over Winton and then burying a three in transition after getting a stop to tie the game at 69-69 with 3:42 remaining.
The teams traded a few empty possessions from there. With 1:42 to play, Young found a cutting Green for an easy back door layup to give UWM the 71-69 lead. The defense forced a missed three with about 30 seconds left, but Cori Coleman saved the ball from going out of bounds and found a teammate for a layup that tied the game and a foul shot after that to give CSU a 72-71 lead and set the stage.
Rechlicz took a timeout with 21 seconds left to draw up the play. Rodriguez took the ball on top and, after a few dribbles, passed to Tucker. Tucker dropped the ball down low to Swopshire who drew the double-team and still managed to finish for the winner with just 4.9 showing on the clock.
"I couldn't be more proud of her (Swopshire)," Rechlicz said. "We gave her a lot of confidence in there. Just drawing up a play and saying `we want you to score' gives anybody confidence - that we have the faith in you to hit the shot. They executed the play to a `T', I couldn't be prouder."
A strong contribution from the UWM bench helped out. Swopshire had seven, freshman Avyanna Young scored a season-high nine points and grabbed four rebounds and freshman Jordyn Swan also chipped in with a season-high six points.
Back-and-forth all game, the Panthers used an 11-3 run to open the second half to jump ahead, 42-37, on a three by Tucker at the 18:03 mark. Milwaukee would build its advantage to as many as seven, but a 9-2 run by CSU produced the 11th tie of the day at 49-49.
"We talk a lot about how you are going to finish the first half and how are you going to start the second half," Rechlicz said. "Those are big opportunities for us. The energy, the excitement - from the players on the floor to the people on the bench - we say you have to be in it 100 percent those first four minutes."
Milwaukee didn't let the run phase it, responding with nine straight points and taking a 58-49 advantage on Young's layup with 12:25 left.
On the day, the Panthers shot 46 percent (29-for-63) from the floor, finishing with 10 more made three's (10-for-27). They also had 21 assists on 29 made baskets and won the turnover battle, 18-to-15.
Up next, it's back on the road for Milwaukee, traveling Thursday to play Valparaiso University in a 7 p.m. tip.