There was no doubt where the ball was going as UB set off on its final possession down a point with 15.4 seconds left in overtime Saturday afternoon. Mackenzie Loesing is their scorer, the player most capable of creating her own shot and draining it. And that holds true whether she’s riding a hot hand, as she did during the first half, or looking to rise from the depths of a slump, as was the case from halftime on.
The Bulls got the ball to Loesing on the wing and watched her set off on a lengthy, circuitous dribble. Stymied straight on, she worked toward the baseline. Still meeting resistance, the sophomore shooting guard took the end-line route and re-emerged on the other side. Once there, she launched a 10-footer that swished with 2.9 seconds left in extra time, lifting UB to an 84-83 victory over Eastern Michigan at Alumni Arena.
Loesing had 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting at halftime. She finished with 26 points but went 3 of 14 after intermission, a sour stretch that included four straight misses early in OT and a seat on the bench.
“Throughout the game I had periods where I was really high and I was doing some good things and I had periods where I was very low and I was not helping our team,” Loesing said. “Coach recognized that and she took me out, she gave me a minute to sit on the sideline, collect my thoughts, make my energy right.”
As the OT moved inside the final minute, point guard Margeaux Gupilan urged coach Felicia Legette-Jack to get Loesing back on the floor and shift the offense into attack mode. And that’s the approach Loesing took after two Phillis Webb free throws put EMU (12-4, 2-3) up one with 15.4 seconds left.
“I knew our team needed me to take the ball to the hole,” Loesing said. “That’s what I do for our team. And that last possession I had one focus, and that was getting that ball to someone who could get it to the rim or getting it there myself. I saw an opportunity and I took it.”
“Honestly I didn’t know what MacKenzie was doing,” said UB low post Christa Baccas.
Baccas did what she does best in that situation, positioning herself for a rebound. It’s the strength of her game, and she tied her career high of 18 points in large part by matching her career high of 15 rebounds.
“I think Christa could have played another five minutes,” Leggette-Jack said of a player who logged a game-high 42 minutes. “Her eyes never left the game.”
UB (9-7, 2-3) appeared to have matters well in hand, leading by 19 with 10:02 to play. EMU freshman Janay Morton (career-high 34 points) and a torrent of turnovers reversed the course and enabled the Eagles to tie it on a Natachia Watkins jumper with 4 seconds left in regulation.
UB committed a season-high 29 turnovers, but Legette-Jack said that number will be high for another five to seven games as UB doles out minutes to deepen its bench. However, 23 of those turnovers were committed by starters. Kristen Sharkey (17 points) was the lone starter unblemished.