On paper it wasn't supposed to be close. Waubonsee Community College's women's basketball team had already played Moraine Valley Community College twice this season, with the Cyclones registering convincing wins by 31 and 24 points. However, the third time was a charm for Waubonsee (11-13, 3-5) as they went toe-to-toe with Moraine Valley (16-7, 4-2) before pulling out a thrilling 88-80 victory in a game that featured 17 lead changes.
Waubonsee surprised the Cyclones by racing out to an 18-11 lead in the first quarter to set the tone early. Three straight turnovers and subsequent baskets by Moraine Valley then closed the gap as neither team led by more than eight points throughout the rest of the first half. The Chiefs eventually ended the first period with a 21-15 lead before the Cyclones out scored Waubonsee 26-16 in the second period to grab a 41-37 halftime lead in the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) battle.
The pace picked up in the third quarter as the Cyclones pushed the ball up the floor repeatedly and stretched their lead to 60-51. After a Waubonsee timeout Essence Rayford buried a three-pointer from the top of the key to start a 10-2 Chiefs' run and get Waubonsee within a point at 62-61 with a minute left in the third. A pair of free throws in the final seconds of the period staked the Cyclones to a 64-61 lead entering the fourth quarter.
A lay-in by Tatyanna Smith two minutes into the final period put the Chiefs in front 68-67 as the lead changed hands five times and was tied on three other occasions over the next five minutes. Melia Perry was the catalyst for Waubonsee as she scored on a pull up jumper for a 72-69 Chiefs lead. Moments later she connected on a long three-pointer midway through the fourth to give the Chiefs a 75-72 lead. Another clutch trey by Perry a minute later put the Chiefs in front again 78-76.
The score was tied at 80-all with two minutes to go. A steal and fast break lay-in by Smith with 1:35 left put Waubonsee in front 82-80. Smith came up with another big steal with 0:55 remaining and Riane Tomsa then converted a pair of free throws with 0:48 left to make it 84-80. Moments later the Cyclones missed a pair of free throw attempts and were forced to foul, sending Smith to the line where she made two more charity tosses to seal the win with 0:17 remaining. Katie Beebe then capped off the Chiefs' upset victory with two more free throws with 0:05 left.
Smith led Waubonsee in scoring with 18 points, seven rebounds and three assists, while also hitting 10 of 12 foul shots for the game. Perry finished with 17 points, including a trio of three-point baskets. Rayford added 16 points, eight boards and five assists. Beebe booked her 15th double double of the season with 12 points and 13 rebounds to go along with four steals and two blocks. Katy Shawke chipped in with 12 points, while Alyssa Gittins grabbed seven rebounds, and Tomsa handed out eight assists. Moraine Valley's Kristen Kamholz led all scorers with 29 points and 10 rebounds.
Waubonsee is in action again this Thursday, February 6 when they travel to Cicero to take on Morton College at 5:15 p.m. (CDT) in an ISCC match-up. Waubonsee's men are set to take on the Panthers that evening at 7:15 p.m. (CDT). For more information on Chiefs' Athletics go on-line to www.GoChiefs.com