By BRAD KEITH
Link to video of Tarleton post game press conference coming soon.
ALLEN (March 3, 2016) — Ikpeaku Iwobi was her dominant self in the paint all night. But it was when she stepped out to the arc and buried a left wing 3-pointer with 1:09 remaining in overtime that the junior forward made her biggest play of the night.
The 3-pointer gave Tarleton (17-10) a 73-70 lead and A&M-Commerce (16-13) would never catch up again in the 78-74 battle that gave former Tarleton head coach Misty Wilson her first victory in the Lone Star Conference Championship tournament since being promoted from assistant coach prior to last season.
Iwobi had 19 points and 10 rebounds, her eighth double-double, while senior guard Raven McGrath hit five 3-pointers and scored 21, just one short of her career high, while distributing six assists.
Bailey Wipff scored 14, dealt four assists and swiped four steals but rimmed out a 10 foot baseline-left floater at the end of regulation to send the game to overtime. TAMUC had tied it on a layup by Artejah Gay, who scored 20 points including a handful of timely baskets to keep the Lions in the game.
Tarleton led 66-62 with 1:01 remaining following the fifth 3-pointer by McGrath, but followed a pair of Shomari Harris free throws for TAMUC with a turnover that led to the game-tying layup.
Tarleton also picked up 16 points, seven boards and three blocks from Breanna Fuller, who also played a significant role in the way overtime ended. With 4.1 seconds on the clock and trailing 77-72, Natalie Hessong was fouled while firing a 3-pointer. She hit the first two free throws, but missed the third.
The remaining A&M-Commerce players were huddled around head coach Jason Burton in front of their bench, and did not take the court until Fuller rebounded the missed free throw. It took more than three seconds for TAMUC to foul her, and with eight-tenths of a second left she hit one of two free throws to end all doubt.
Burton explained the situation after the game, saying Hessong had to hit the free throw and TAMUC steal the inbound or foul to have a shot, that he did not believe going for an offensive rebound and a kick out for a potential game-tying 3-pointer was a realistic option.
Princess Davis scored 17 points and dealt seven assists for the Lions, and Krystal Peckron scored 11.
McGrath used a personal 8-1 run that included two 3-pointers to give Tarleton 52-46 lead in the third quarter, but TAMUC responded with nine straight points for a 55-52 lead. Iwobi ended that run before Wipff drove in for an aggressive layup that put Tarleton back on top.
McGrath and Wipff combined for four consecutive 3-point makes in the middle of a second quarter that included an 11-0 Tarleton run that set the stage for a 34-29 halftime advantage.
There were 13 total lead changes and eight ties in the rubber match between teams that split their regular season meetings, Talreton winning comfortably in Stephenville before having a seven-game win streak snapped in a 78-71 road loss to the Lions just last Saturday.