Fifteen seconds showed on the clock. The Schreiner Mountaineers led the University of Dallas 54-53. Junior Holly Tonry inbounded to fellow junior Seana Stoia, who handed the ball back off to Tonry as sophomore Michelle DeCoud went up at the high post.
Tonry dribbled to her right and fed DeCoud, who took one dribble to the middle before pulling up and sinking what would prove to be the game-winning jumper with less than four seconds left on the clock.
Schreiner called timeout with two seconds left, but was unable to get a shot off on their final possession. The Crusader’s bench poured onto the court as the team met, jumping for joy after the big victory.
“We knew going into the game that they were a good team and it would be a tough game,” DeCoud said. “But we also knew that if we did the little things right on defense and kept our heads on offense then we could be successful.”
DeCoud’s game-winner capped off another big night for the sophomore post who had 16 points and 8 rebounds. A week ago she earned SCAC Player of the Week honors after posting double-doubles in wins over Colorado College and Centenary College, where she scored 11 points and pulled down 11 boards over Colorado followed by a 19 point, 12 rebound performance against Centenary.
She could be making a case for a second straight Player of the Week performance after a near double-double against Trinity on Friday night to go along with her performance against Schreiner.
After an impressive freshman campaign in which she earned SCAC Newcomer of the Year honors, DeCoud missed the first semester of this season while studying abroad in Rome. The time abroad did not affect her performance; she averages 12 points and 8 rebounds a game.
“I’m just so glad to be playing again,” DeCoud said. “The Rome semester was an incredible experience but I really missed my team and the game. When it comes down to it, all the opportunities I get on the court are because of my teammates. One person can’t do it by themselves. I just try my best to capitalize on the opportunities they give me.”
It was a big win for the Crusaders, coming off of a disappointing loss against Trinity the night before. Junior Lindsey Gendron led the team with 17 points while Stoia chipped in 10 points and 11 rebounds of her own. Guard Holly Tonry stepped up, to fill Tso’s absence, dishing out 11 assists, while also pulling down 10 rebounds.
The Crusaders improved to 3-4 in conference play, and are in sixth place in the SCAC, a full two games above Colorado and Centenary. The top six teams qualify for the conference tournament at the end of the season. Halfway through conference play, the Crusaders are in good position to qualify.
“The team played with heart and determination tonight, and fought the whole way,” Head Coach Greta Grothe said. It was certainly an important win.
The Crusaders take a quick break from conference action as they travel to Southwestern Adventist on Monday before traveling to San Antonio and Kerrville next weekend to take on Trinity and Schreiner.