Now the waiting begins.
Because the North Idaho College women’s basketball team missed its last four shots and two of three free throws, the Cardinals have to hope an at-large bid to the national tournament in Hutchinson, Kan., comes their way.
College of Southern Southern Idaho scored the last six points to rally for a 57-55 win in the title game of the NJCAA Region 18 tournament at Christianson Gymnasium Saturday night.
“There are some upset girls in there,” NIC coach Chris Carlson said outside the locker room. There were some opportunities but it’s not just one person. … CSI made some good shots at the end and we didn’t. We just didn’t shoot a high enough percent.”
Down 29-25 at halftime, the fourth-ranked Cardinals (28-4) broke away from a tie at 39 to open an eight-point lead with under 8 minutes to go but couldn’t finish off the Golden Eagles (21-11).
Julia Dufurrena made it 55-54 at 1:36 and then tournament MVP Adriana Dent, who led all scorers with 16 points, put CSI ahead with a layup at 28 seconds. Sarah Vieweg made at free throw with 12.4 seconds left to make it a two-point game, which held up when Scenic West Conference MVP Georgia Stirton didn’t have enough on her contested step-back 3-pointer.
“NIC is a tough team,” said Dent, one of just four sophomores on the 15-player roster. “To beat them three times in a row, holy cow.”
The Cardinals had a 10-point run early for a 19-9 lead but CSI, which lost to NIC by 18 before winning by two, 11 and two, had the next 12 points and the game stayed tight.
“That’s what this team has done all year,” Golden Eagles coach Randy Rogers said of his freshman-dominated roster. “We knew what they were going to do. They’re so skilled at each position. We were fortunate they missed some easy baskets early.”
Angela Woods had 14 points for NIC, which shot 36 percent, and all-tournament selections Stirton and Hannah Love, a sophomore out of West Valley, had 10.
“I loved how we stepped up in the second half, they were fighting for their lives,” Carlson said. “It’s weird, it doesn’t feel like it’s over with the at-large bids but we won’t know for 10 days.”
Eight at-large bids have been added to make the nation tournament a 24-team bracket.
• Box score /C12