It only took 1.4 seconds for the Lady Bruins’ basketball season to go from an Atlantic Sun championship game appearance to elimination.
Stetson guard Victoria McGowan hit a halfcourt shot at the buzzer to end Belmont’s season in the semifinals of the A-Sun tournament.
“It’s not exactly the way you want to make a highlight reel,” Belmont head coach Brittney Ezell said.
McGowan’s miracle shot fell after Belmont senior Shaunda Strayhorn gave the Lady Bruins a lead by scoring on a three-point play with 1.4 seconds remaining.
“I was praying for that to go in,” McGowan said. “It felt good.”
The officials watched the instant replay to determine whether the shot was released before the buzzer.
“I asked (official Ken Drayton) to put a stopwatch on the monitor because I didn’t feel like the clock started,” Ezell said. “But when you’re the head coach of the losing team, you’re going to try anything.”
Despite a memorable finish, the game lacked a consistent offensive flow. Both teams shot below 31 percent from the field.
“Belmont did a great job defensively on us,” Stetson head coach Lynn Bria said.
After a slow start, six points by Haley Nelson followed by a breakaway layup by Whitney Seals opened things up, giving the Lady Bruins a 15-10 lead eight minutes into the game.
Some back-and-forth scoring preceded a Tierra Brown pull-up jumper from the top of the key with less than a minute to give the Hatters a 27-24 lead into halftime..
With floor general Strayhorn on the bench in foul trouble, the Lady Bruins couldn’t find the basket down the stretch, being held scoreless for the final 4:45 of the half.
In the second half, the offensive woes continued for each team. Stetson shot just 24 percent from the field in the second half–including McGowan’s game-winner.
The loss marks the end of Ezell’s first season at Belmont.
“I’m so honored to be this team’s head coach,” Ezell said.