Despite dominating the offensive glass and getting to the foul line 30 times, the Winthrop women's basketball team came up just short in a 71-69 road loss to Wichita State on Wednesday.
The Eagles trailed by four points after Dequesha McClanahan hit one of two free throws and the defense forced a turnover, but as McClanahan drove to the basket she was called for an offensive foul and fouled out of the game.
Winthrop bounced right back to force a turnover and get another chance to cut the lead as Diana Choibekova missed a 3-point attempt, but had another shot after an offensive rebound and hit a long jumper with 1.4 seconds left. The referees reviewed the call to make sure it was a two-point shot and it was confirmed. Wichita State was able to inbound the ball to run out the time coming out of a timeout.
In the end, turnovers proved costly as the Eagles faced a lot of full-court pressure and traps from the Shockers throughout the game. Winthrop committed 23 turnovers that Wichita State took advantage of for 30 points.
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Despite being undersized, the Eagles outworked the Shockers on the glass and ended up with 23 offensive boards they turned into 23 points. Winthrop attacked the basket with its guards, which paid off with 30 free-throw attempts. As a team, the Eagles were 25-for-30 (83 percent).
With 14:21 to go in the game, Winthrop got to the bonus but moments later ran into foul trouble as McClanahan picked up her fourth foul with 11:18 left. At that point Winthrop led 51-50 after Choibekova connected on two free throws.
The teams traded baskets a couple of times over the next couple of minutes and McClanahan re-entered the game with 7:56 to go with Wichita State up 56-55. After two Samiya Wright free throws cut the lead to one with 7:18, the Shockers' Jessica Diamond pulled up from behind the arc and drained their only 3-point basket of the game to push the lead to four.
With 1:39 left in the game, the Shockers owned a seven-point advantage, but McClanahan penetrated the lane and found Taylor Calvert underneath for an easy basket. The first half saw the Eagles claw their way back from an eight-point deficit to lead at the break, 36-32.
Winthrop held the lead at the break despite Wichita State shooting 52 percent from the floor and getting 26 of 32 points in the paint.
Winthrop was led by Choibekova's 20 points as she scored 18 of them in the second half. McClanahan added 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists while Wright finished with 11 points. Fitzgerland also had 11 points to go along with a career-high 14 rebounds for her first career double-double.
The Eagles will be in action just after the Thanksgiving holiday as they host Virginia Commonwealth on Sunday at 1 p.m.