MACOMB, Ill. - Down one point with the ball and 10 seconds left, Western Illinois women's basketball could not get a shot off before the final buzzer allowing Kansas City to collect a 51-50 Summit League victory. The loss drops the Leathernecks to 10-10 overall and 3-5 in the conference, while the Kangaroos move to 7-14 and 3-5.
Western tried setting up a drive to the basket, but UMKC cut off the lane. Saule Kontautaite eventually got a shot off from 3-point range that went in, but after an official review, the would-be game-winner did not get off in time.
"Losing two games when you have the last possession hurts," head coach JD Gravina said. "We've got to find a way to get a good shot at that point."
Down by three at halftime and eight in the early minutes of the second half, the Leathernecks trailed until the 4:08 mark when Jackie Rieger tied the game with a layup at 45-all, then made a free throw to put the squad ahead. Charnelle Reed followed netting two free throws to give Western a three-point advantage with less than three minutes to play.
After a Lexis Hardiek 3-pointer and a basket and-one play by Eilise O'Conner put Kansas City back on top 51-48, Ashley Luke recorded a layup at the 30 second mark to bring Western within one. Taylor Leathers was fouled and she missed the front end of a 1-and-1 as Luke cleared away the rebound to set up the final play.
The Kangaroos were held scoreless by a tough Western defense until the 15:30 mark when Hailey Houser recorded a layup. The bucket spurred a 9-0 Kansas City run that knotted the game 9-9. Western was held scoreless for nearly seven minutes before Luke could halt the run sinking a free throw with 9:02 remaining in the first half. Reed added an and-one play with a jumper and a free throw to regain control of the contest.
Following another tie, Kontautaite knocked down shots from long range to post a six point lead, however, Kansas City used a 9-0 scoring drive to head to the locker room with a 24-21 advantage.
Western shot 31.1 percent (19-for-61) overall from the floor, 20.8 percent (5-for-24) from long range and 46.7 percent (7-for-15) from the charity stripe, while Kansas City shot 37.0 percent (20-for-54) overall from the field, 57.1 percent (4-for-7) from beyond the arc and 87.5 percent (7-for-8) from the free throw line.
Luke pulled down a game-high 13 boards, her second double-double of the season. She also paced the team in blocks with two and steals with three. Reed and Kontautaite led the squad in assists notching four apiece.
The Leathernecks hit five three-pointers in the contest putting them in the No. 2 spot on the Western Illinois 'Top 10' list for 3-point shots made in a season with 158. The record stands at 215 and was set by last year's team.
Western Illinois women's basketball returns to action at Chicago State on Tuesday (Jan. 29). The game, which begins at 7 p.m., will be shown live on ESPN3.