Lady Buffs suffer  narrow setback

By Marvin Birchfield
STAR Correspondent

   The Milligan Lady Buffaloes fell just shy of victory on Saturday, as Brevard escaped in the closing seconds with a 56-54 win at Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.
   "There's still a 50/50 chance we can still win the conference tournament, and I'm proud of how hard we fought," said Milligan coach Rich Aubrey.
   The Buffaloes trailed in the first seven minutes of action, after not being able to convert a field goal, and falling behind 12-2.
   Their first bucket came when Miranda Greene drove inside for the two, plus drawing the foul.
   The Buffaloes then went on a 13-4 run to close the gap to one, when Nicky Jessen nailed a 12 foot jumper from the right baseline.
   Jessen led the Buffaloes with 13 points on the night, while Kristen Kerkvliet added 12.
   Milligan grabbed their first lead of the game, when Ginny White made a nice pass on the inside to Kerkvliet, putting the Buffaloes up 19-18 with 4:35 left in the first half.
   The contest was a see-saw battle till the end with senior Heather Eckman scoring the Buffaloes last four scores of the half.
   Brevard held a 26-25 advantage at intermission, as Milligan scrapped and hustled back from a 10 point deficit.
   The game stayed close throughout the second half with Milligan regaining the lead with 10 minutes to go, when Kervielt received the pass down-low from Lacy York for the score.
   The Buffaloes enjoyed a four-point advantage with four minutes to play, and it looked like they might be on their way to victory.
   But the Tornadoes came back to score the next six points to reassume the lead 52-50.
   With just 24 seconds left in regulation, Jessen sank two free-throws to put Milligan back up by one.
   After a time-out by Brevard, Tekiela Oden dribbled the ball the length of the court, driving in for the lay-up.
   "We tried to clear out and provide isolation for her, because we felt like she could put the points upon the board," said Brevard coach Sheila Simmons.
   With one last chance left, Jessen drew the foul with 4.5 seconds to go, giving Milligan an opportunity to tie or take the lead.
   But she was not able to hit either foul shot, as the rebound went to Brevard, ending Milligan's hope of squeaking out a victory.
   "We didn't shoot free-throws well all night, for the ones we missed along the way might have got us over the top," said Aubrey.
   April Palmer led the Tornadoes in scoring with 15 points and nine rebounds.
   "I knew we was going up against good competition, and that it would be a tough game for us," said Simmons.