In a survive-and-advance ball game, when the season is on the line, one shot can change the outcome. That one shot can open up the basket, give confidence, and create momentum. That is exactly what happened for the CBU women’s basketball team on Wednesday afternoon.
Chloe Webb finished with 17 points as the Lancers advanced to Friday’s semifinals with a 81-72 win over Utah Tech at Orleans Arena.
With seven seconds left in the first half, Emily Isaacson gave Utah Tech a 34-27 lead.
However, as the buzzer sounded, Tiena Neale banked in a 3-pointer. It was the shot the Lancers needed.
CBU took the momentum from Neale’s 3-pointer and ran with it out of the halftime locker room…literally.
“That 3-pointer was kind of one of those things that, obviously, I’m sure Tiena will say she called glass,” CBU head coach Jarrod Olson said. “But, those are the kind of plays that you need to win in March. It’s not always going to be pretty, it’s not always going to be how you want it to happen. But, going into the half down four instead of down seven or 10, it does make a little bit of a difference.”
Chloe Webb came to life as CBU used a 14-1 run to take complete control on Wednesday. Whether it was a driving floater or a reverse layup, Webb could not be stopped. The UC Irvine transfer put on a show with 11 points in the third quarter.
Along with Webb, CBU finally found its offensive rhythm. The Lancers shot 53 percent in the third quarter. Part of that was getting out in transition thanks to a full-court press.
That press created all kinds of problems for Utah Tech. In fact, CBU held the Trailblazers without a field goal for over eight minutes in the third quarter.
Averi Papa’s bucket with 8:02 left in the quarter was the last field goal for the Trailblazers in the period.
“I think that was something we knew we were going to do at some point,” Olson said in regards to the press defense. “We tried it a little bit in the first half. It just didn’t quite happen. We also had a hard time scoring so we couldn’t get into it very frequently. We played them a week ago and the press seemed to work pretty well so we knew we were going to come back to it at some point.”
CBU took full advantage.
Kinsley Barrington’s layup gave CBU a 49-40 lead with 3:31 left in the quarter.
Chloe Webb’s driving layup and Filipa Barros’ jumper to end the quarter gave CBU a 55-44 lead.
Considering both teams like to shoot 3-pointers, everyone knew the 3-pointer barrage was coming.
Midway through the fourth quarter, the teams traded 3-pointers. First it was Emily Isaacson. Then it was Sila Finau for CBU. Taylia Stimpson hit a 3-pointer for Utah Tech on the following possession. Then, Finau struck again with another 3-pointer of her own. Breaunna Gillen responded with a 3-pointer. However, Finau hit her third 3-pointer in the stretch to push CBU’s lead to 17 with 5:22 to play.
Taylia Stimpson and Amber Kartchner came right back for the Trailblazers with back-to-back 3-pointers cutting the deficit to 11.
“She was ready,” Breaunna Gillen said of Stimpson’s career day. “She’s been working. She’s put numerous hours in and this was her moment.”
Utah Tech cut the deficit to single digits a couple of teams down the stretch. Emily Isaacson’s 3-pointer cut the deficit to nine. Averi Papa’s free throws cut the deficit to seven.
But, CBU hit free throws over the final minute and got enough stops to hang on for the win.
Along with Chloe Webb, Sila Finau and Grace Schmidt were also in double figures with 16 and 15 points, respectively.
“Obviously didn’t go our way,” Utah Tech head coach JD Gustin said. “But, super proud of my kids for the way they responded in that fourth. It could have turned over but it didn’t. Super proud of our group.”
CBU advances to take on SFA in the first semifinal game on Friday.
Taylia Stimpson finished with a game-high and career-high 20 points for the Trailblazers. Breaunna Gillen had 14 points, eight rebounds and nine assists. Gillen scored in double figures in all 31 games in 2022-23. In fact, dating back to last season, Gillen has now scored in double figures in 43 straight games for the Trailblazers. Maggie McCord and Averi Papa were also in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Utah Tech finishes its third season at the Division I level at 19-12.