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Westminster basketball: Griffin women fall in final seconds

The Westminster women's basketball team (3-6, 2-3 RMAC) nearly defeated the 16th ranked Fort Lewis Skyhawks (10-1, 5-1 RMAC). The Griffins missed two free throws, while in the lead by one point, with 11 seconds remaining. Vivian Gray, of Fort Lewis, scored the game-winning basket off an inbound pass with five seconds remaining, finishing the game 63-62.

Westminster played well in the first half and was well deserving of the five-point lead. The Griffins were 11-of-23 from the field, 3-of-7 from 3-point range and 4-of-5 from the free-throw line. The Griffins led for most of the game, 32 minutes and 49 seconds. The Griffins got off to a good start, shooting 47.8 percent from the field, 42.9 percent from 3-point range and making 4-of-5 free throws. Fort Lewis matched Westminster with 11 baskets in the first half but only one of those was a 3-pointer. Kaylee Carlsen ended the half with eight points, and Sydnee Taylor and Hunter Krebs each had seven points as the Griffins leading scorers.

Krebs started the second half scoring a 3-pointer for the Griffins. The Skyhawks scored 12 unanswered points to take the lead. The Griffins tied the game three times during the third quarter before taking the lead back and finishing the quarter, 48-45.

Fort Lewis was close on the heels of Westminster through the fourth quarter. The opposition came within one point, but Sicilee Williams scored seven in a row to push the Skyhawks back. The Griffin lead was cut down to three points with two minutes remaining. Both teams went scoreless for one and a half minutes before Gray scored a free throw, reducing the Griffin lead to one. Fort Lewis received a lifeline as the Griffins missed two free throws with 11 seconds remaining, allowing the Skyhawks an opportunity to win. An inbound pass to Gray was enough to seal the win for Fort Lewis, 63-61.

"Fort Lewis is a great team. They came up with the big plays at the right time tonight," head coach Shelley Jarrard stated after the game. "I thought we competed and defended the level we needed to be able to win. We just had some tough plays to overcome down the stretch."

The Griffins finished the night 23-of-47 from the field, 6-of-14 from beyond the arc and 10-of-15 from the charity stripe. Krebs, Taylor and Carlsen scored in double-digit figures. Taylor led the team with 14 points, Krebs had 12 and Carlsen scored 10.

The team pulled down a total of 30 rebounds, 24 of those defensive boards. Denise Gonzalez led both teams in rebounds having collected seven defensive boards. Krebs pulled down five and Taylor had four.

Next up for the Griffins is Adams State (2-5, 0-5 RMAC) on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase online or at the door prior to the game. The game will be broadcast on the RMAC Network, and live stats will also be available.

Eric Stephens is the Director of Athletic Communications and Events for Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah. Westminster is a provisional member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference at the NCAA Division II level.