LAKE CHARLES, La. – COVID craziness continues in 2020 as East Texas Baptist University upset NCAA Division I McNeese State University in a women’s basketball exhibition game, 68-67. With less than four days to prepare for the game after picking it up on Monday due to a cancelation for McNeese State, ETBU made the most of the exhibition contest leading for most of the game. Even though it was an exhibition, it was a marque win for head coach Blake Arbogast in his first season.
Bridget Upton led ETBU with 20 points making four clutch three-pointers and shooting 50% from the floor. Taylor Singleton added 15 points making three three-pointers leading the team with five steals and seven rebounds. ETBU finished shooting 38% from the floor, 36% from the three-point line, and only 46% from the free throw line. McNeese State made 36% (floor), 25% (three-point), and 61% (free throws).
ETBU came out firing on all cylinders in the first quarter making 50% of their shots from the floor taking a 10-point lead, 24-14. Mallory Stephens started off with a three-pointer just seven seconds in and then Kaia Williams banked in lay up for a 5-0 lead just 45 seconds in. McNeese State stayed close until and Emma Stelzer three-pointer with 2:42 left making it 16-8. McNeese State cut it to three points, 16-13, on a 5-0 run with 1:56 left only to see ETBU finish on an 8-1 run for the 10-point lead.
Pulling to within three, 26-23, with 6:35 left in the second quarter, McNeese State gave up five straight points as ETBU went back up by eight points, 31-23. The Cowgirls responded again with their own five-point run to come within three, 31-28, with 3:23 left in the quarter. Mollie Dittmar and Hailey Fieseler each recorded a bucket for a seven-point lead, 35-28, with just over two minutes left before the half. A McNeese basket made it 35-29 with 1:32 to go but in just 40 seconds ETBU had an 11-point lead, 40-29, on an Upton layup and a Singleton three-pointer. McNeese State fought back bringing the lead down to seven at the half, 40-33.
McNeese put together their best basketball in the third quarter out scoring ETBU, 17-11. They tied the game at 48 with 1:24 on the clock but a three-point play by Dittmar pub ETBU back up by three, 51-48. McNeese State hit a shot with one second left to come within one, 51-50, and then ETBU had a half court shot called off as time expired to end the period.
Both teams fought back and forth in the fourth quarter as McNeese State took their first lead of the game, 59-57, at the 6:39 mark on a three-point play. Singleton tied it up at 59 only to have the Cowgirls swoosh down a three-pointer for a three-point lead, 62-59. ETBU answered with an 8-2 run over two and half minutes to retake the lead, 67-64, on Upton’s fourth three-pointer of the game and 3:42 remaining. With 2:13 left, McNeese State cut the lead to one, 67-66, and then ETBU made one of two free throws with 1:19 remaining for a two-point lead, 68-66. The final minute of play was the craziest minute of the entire game with missed free throws, shots, and key fouls. With two seconds left, ETBU missed two free throws as McNeese State took a last second three-pointer from half court and was fouled with 0.5 seconds left. Trailing by two, they had three free throws for a chance to win the game but only made one as ETBU held onto the upset win.
ETBU is off until December 17 when they play Howard Payne University and is currently 3-0.