CHICAGO, Ill. - With 11 seconds remaining on the clock and trailing by two, Western had an opportunity to tie or win the game, however the buzzer beater did not fall ending the contest 56-54 in favor of Chicago State on Tuesday (Jan. 29). The back-and-forth battle included 13 ties and 11 lead changes.
The loss brings the Leathernecks to 10-11 overall on the year, while the Cougars have now won three of their last four and have an overall mark of 4-18.
A Chicago State zone defense frustrated the Leatherneck offense in the first half, forcing a total of 15 turnovers. The Cougars led by as much as five in the first 20 minutes of play, however Western regained composure and took a 27-25 lead into the break aided by a 4-0 scoring run by Charnelle Reed in the final two minutes.
In the second half, Saule Kontautaite went on a 5-0 scoring run knocking down a three-pointer and laying one in to give the Leathernecks a four-point lead with 10:18 left to play. After a Cougar layup, Kontautaite answered with her second three of the contest. She netted all 10 of her points in the final 20 minutes of the game.
From there, Chicago State's Paris Williams took over sinking two three-pointers and layup to pull ahead. Ashley Luke contributed four points, with a layup and two free throws, to get Western within two points with less than a minute remaining, but a Jackie Jones layup stretched the Cougar lead to four.
Michelle Maher drove to the basket on the next possession and recorded a layup to make it a one possession contest and Western played the fouling game sending Chicago State to the line. Following a missed free throw in a one-and-one situation, the Leathernecks had the ball with 11 seconds remaining. Ultimately, the jumper did not fall ending the team's comeback hopes.
A trio of Leathernecks reached double figures in scoring including Reed with 15 points, Luke with 13 and Kontautaite with 10. Reed has paced the team in points in back-to-back contests. Pulling down a team-high nine rebounds was Luke, just one board away from notching a double-double.
Kontautaite dished out a team-most four assists, while Michele Salvatori and Maher recorded two steals apiece. Four Leathernecks recorded a block in the game including Maher, Kontautaite, Luke and Rachel Evans.
Jones led the Chicago State offense with 15 points. Joining her in double figures were Williams and Layne Murphy netting 14 points and 10 points, respectively.
Western Illinois shot 35.5 percent (22-for-62) overall from the field, 20.0 percent (6-for-30) from three-point range and 44.4 percent (4-for-9) from the charity stripe, while Chicago State was 40.0 percent (22-for-55) overall from the floor, 44.4 percent (4-for-9) from long range and 57.1 percent (8-for-14) from the free throw line.
Western returns to Western Hall for its Summit League clash with IUPUI on Saturday (Feb. 2) beginning at 4:30 p.m. It is also Women's Basketball Alumni Day and National Girls and Women in Sport Day.