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Wolverine women lose NJCAA tourney opener

SALINA, Kansas — The Utah Valley State College women's basketball team watched its lead with less than three minutes to play in regulation vanish, as the Wolverines lost 92-86 to Jefferson College in double overtime in Tuesday's opening round of the women's NJCAA tournament.

UVSC led 78-69 with 2:46 to play in the second half but did not score down the stretch. While the Wolverines were missing shot after shot, Jefferson's Nicole Lindsey scored nine of her 23 points — four baskets and a free throw — to tie the score and force overtime.

In the first overtime, UVSC's Kristen Saliby, who finished with a game-high 29 points, scored with 17 seconds left to send the game into a second OT.

In the second extra period, Thia Willis canned a pair of 3-pointers to give the Vikings a lead they would not relinquish. Willis finished with 28 points.

With the win, Jefferson improved to 32-1 and advanced to the second round to face 33-1 Midland, Texas. UVSC (24-10) dropped into the consolation bracket to face Alabama's Wallace State Thursday.

Jefferson led by as many as 11 in the first half. But Mickey Folsom hit back-to-back three-pointers to get UVSC to within three at 31-28, and Saliby added a bucket with six seconds to go to cut the lead to one at the half, 33-32.

UVSC opened the second half with a 12-3 run, capped by a Bekka Carlson trey at the 16:05 mark to give the Wolverines a 44-36 lead. Saliby scored seven points in the run. Saliby added four more points to give UVSC a 50-39 lead at the 14 minute mark, and moments later Carslon drilled a triple to give the Wolverines their largest lead at 53-41.

But there was no quit in Jefferson. The Vikings stormed back with an 11-1 run midway through the period to get to witin two at 60-58. Kestlee Nelson hit a pair of free throws, and Carlson added another triple to put UVSC back up by seven with just over seven minutes left.

Again Jefferson rallied, this time going on an 8-0 run, capped by a LaToya Granberry three-pointer that gave the Vikings a 66-65 lead. Saliby scored the next seven points for UVSC to put the Wolverines up 72-67 with 4:15 to go.

UVSC's Bekka Carslon, who had 21 points, drilled back-to-back threes to make it 78-69 with 2:46 to go, and it looked like UVSC had the game in hand. But the Wolverines went cold, and Lindsey went on her tear, swinging the momentum back to Jefferson.