Stout's last-second three equals disaster for Bryan

By Ivan Sanders

STAR CORRESPONDENT
isanders@starhq.com

     Kari! Kari! Kari! rang out in the confines of Steve Lacy Fieldhouse as the crowd gave their approval of a Kari Stout three-pointer that was launched as time expired and tickled the twine as the horn sounded.
     The shot gave the Milligan Lady Buffs a huge win over the first place Bryan College Lady Lions by the score of 71-68 in a game that was tied with four seconds remaining in regulation.
     "We're still growing as a team and I am very thrilled to get a big win over a very good Bryan College team," stated Lady Buff head coach Rich Aubrey. "We did just enough to stay in it in the first half and we didn't put it away at the foul line in the second half when we had a chance to close the door, so we're fortunate that the shot went in at the buzzer."
     Bryan came out aggressive in the first 20 minutes as it built a 14-7 advantage at the 10:45 mark of the half. Milligan wasn't ready to let the Lady Lions run away with the game early and became very opportunistic as they forced Bryan into several ill-advised shots which the Lady Buffs used to their benefit.
     Aubrey inserted senior Vera Conkin and all Conkin did was respond by nailing three treys in a span of less than two minutes, with the third one bringing the teams even at 20-20 with 7:47 left in the first half.
     From that point forward the game was a tennis match as the lead swapped sides up to the horn, bringing the first 20 minutes to an end with Bryan taking a slim one-point edge at 29-28.
     Bryan was led in scoring in the first half by the Bass sisters, Liz and Sarah, who stand at first and third in the conference in scoring as each player collected eight to show the way for the Lady Lions. Conkin's treys gave her the scoring honors in the stanza for Milligan with nine followed by Stout with six and five points from the strong interior play of Lacy York.
     The second frame began much the same way as the first did, with Bryan pushing its lead to five at 33-28 with only 30 ticks off the clock in the half. Milligan caught the Lady Lions once again at the 17:38 mark on a deuce from Amanda Hammons to even the score at 35-all.
     From there the game went back and forth once again before the Lady Buffs regained the lead at 59-58 with 4:56 left in the contest behind the strong inside play of York and Joy Clark, who scored 13 of her 16 points in the half. Milligan appeared to have the game locked up with one minute left as it maintained a six-point lead at 66-60 on a Hammons free throw.
     A good team like Bryan doesn't just fade away, though, as the Lady Lions regrouped behind the Bass sisters and evened the score on a Liz Bass lay-up with 04.7 seconds left. The Lady Buffs called timeout to set the final shot and as the ball came up the court it found its way to the hands of Stout, who was known for pulling her Hampton Lady Bulldogs through some of the same situations.
     Stout's launch over a double team looked true and fell through the net as the horn sounded to set off a wild celebration by the Buff faithful and echoes of Kari! Kari!
     "The team did a really good job the whole game or the shot wouldn't have meant anything," stated Stout. "I knew I had my feet set and I was confident I could hit the shot, but I just didn't think it was going in until it fell and the adrenal began to rush as everyone started jumping on me."
     Clark led the Lady Buffs with 16 points while Stout collected 14. Conkin and York wrapped up a solid team effort by contributing with 11 points apiece.
     Liz Bass was the game's high scorer as she netted 21, with sister Sarah close behind with 20. Katie White chipped in with 12 points in a supportive role for the Lady Lions.
     The loss was only the second conference blemish in 13 games for Bryan, but head coach Matt Bollant felt good about his teams effort.
     "We played with a lot of heart there in the last two minutes of the ballgame and I was really pleased with the way the ladies responded," said Bollant. "If we could have played with that same intensity the first 38:00 minutes, we might have been able to walk away with the win but Milligan has played us tough two games and if I had to give up that last shot over I would have done it the same way."
     Milligan's Lady Buffs improve to 8-10 overall and 5-5 in conference action while Bryan drops only its third game of the year, standing at 20-3 overall with an 11-2 conference slate.