Basketball loses WNIT in triple-OT

Photo courtesy of Danny Karnik

The women’s basketball team’s season ended in a slugfest against Michigan in the Women’s NIT finals on April 1. Early in the season, Tech faced the Wolverines at home in the ACC/Big Ten challenge. The game was extremely one-sided with Michigan taking the impressive 92-52 win.

Five months later, the Jackets went to triple overtime with the Wolverines, eventually falling 89-79. It was the culmination of five previous impressive postseason performances by the Jackets.

Their road in the WNIT started March 16 against Jacksonville with a 71-55 win. Sophomore Kaylan Pugh led the team with 13 points, with two others finishing in double figures. The Jackets would then get lucky enough to host their remaining games in McCamish until the finals. That home support helped carry them through to the finals.

Their second-round game pitted Tech against the UCF Knights, a game they won 63-51. ACC Freshman Player of the Year Francesca Pan put up 21 points, also leading the team with four three-pointers.

Tech then faced Middle Tennessee State and Alabama, beating them 70-57 and 76-66 to set up a semifinal matchup against Washington State. The Jackets had never faced the Wildcats in the history of both programs, yet the game played out like a classic rivalry game.

With 3:49 left in the third quarter, Washington State’s Alexys Swedlund made a layup to give Washington State a 54-43 lead. But Tech’s defense clamped down. Moving into the fourth quarter, the Jackets continued to hold the Cougars scoreless until 3:48 left in the quarter. Ivana Kmetovska scored to finally break the Washington State scoring drought.

Overall, in the fourth quarter, the Jackets outscored the Cougars 20-7, cruising to a 69-61 victory and a spot in the WNIT finals. The finals took place in Callihan Hall in Detroit, Mich.

Even before the teams could go to overtime, the game was neck and neck. The teams traded leads throughout the game. Heading into the first overtime, the teams were tied at 67 points.

Those first two overtime periods were low-scoring, with the teams scoring three points each in the first and six points each in the second one. The third period saw a valiant Tech team finally tire, with the Jackets ending at a 22-15 mark, with plenty of optimism thanks to young talent.