Top Ten
"I just threw it up and hoped." Courtesy Western Athletic Conference.

WBB: Top Ten Plays of the Year

When a calendar year ends, it’s time to reflect on what has transpired. We’re also doing the same thing here at WAC Hoops Digest. Kyle McDonald brought you the men’s Top Ten Plays of the Year and now I get to bring you the women’s Top Ten Plays of the Year. We asked for some fan suggestions on Twitter too. Thank you to all who offered. This Top Ten list is limited to WAC regular season conference play and any postseason action. Here we go.

1. “I just threw it up an hoped.”

Any look back at the WAC in 2022-23 has to start with the escape of all escapes from regular season and tournament champion Southern Utah. Down two points with the last possession in their first game of the WAC tournament, the T-Birds had one final possession to either force overtime or defeat New Mexico State. What transpired next will likely go down as one of the greatest shots in mid-major basketball history.

A couple of days later Southern Utah, defeated CBU in the WAC tournament final to earn their first NCAA Tournament appearance. That doesn’t happen without what might be remembered as the shot heard round the world. This shot saved a dream and is the play of the year on our Top Ten list.

2. Woods’ completes Bearkats comeback with 3-point play

On Monday afternoon at Mandalay Bay in opening round action of their final Western Athletic Conference tournament things weren’t looking good for Sam Houston State. They found themselves trailing Abilene Christian 72-57 with six minutes to go. However, the Bearkats pulled off the improbable comeback thanks to this play.

Sam Houston fell in Wednesday’s quarterfinals against Stephen F. Austin. However, the Bearkats finish their tenure in the WAC with a play no one in Huntsville will ever forget. Sam Houston State moves to Conference USA on July 1st.

3. Clark hits late 3-pointer to upset UTA

Not a lot went right for Seattle U’s women’s basketball team in 2021-22 leading to the decision by AD Shaney Fink to not retain head coach Suzy Barcomb. One bright moment, and perhaps the brightest moment of the year for Redhawk fans, was at Mandalay Bay in the first round of WAC tournament play. Down 10 points to start the fourth quarter, Seattle whittled away at the UTA lead and cutting it to one point, and eventually taking the lead on an Asta Blauenfeldt 3-pointer with 5:08 left in the fourth. A Taliyah Clark 3-pointer gave Seattle a 75-70 lead with just under a minute and a half left and a pair of Peyton Howard free throws clinched the Redhawks ticket to Wednesday’s quarterfinals where they fell to GCU.

4. Klaman’s buzzer-beater pushes Lancers to WBI final

With 12 seconds left in regulation in a WBI semifinal, the CBU women’s basketball team had possession and an opportunity to end the game. That’s exactly what Brittany Klaman did against Georgia Southern, getting the handoff from Grace Schmidt and then going to work in the post for the winning bucket.

5. Jacobs’ buzzer-beater knocks Southern Utah from ranks of undefeated

Southern Utah had escaped every challenge in the early part of WAC regular season play. That is until a February 6th buzzer-beater by UTA’s Starr Jacobs gave the Lady Mavs a thrilling victory at College Park Center.

Despite the setback Southern Utah would earn their first regular season championship, winning the title by a game over Stephen F. Austin. Jacobs has announced she will return for her final season of eligibility as the Lady Mavs look to improve upon this year’s 8-10 mark in WAC play.

T6. A buzzer-beater in Riverside between the Aggies and Lancers

New Mexico State’s final trip to Riverside for an education day game on February 2 marked the Aggies first win over CBU since year one of the transition. The 62-61 Aggie victory is also the only game on this list with two plays.

This basket from Soufia Inoussa with 7.1 seconds left put the Aggies up 62-61…the margin they’d prevail by.

If it weren’t in a losing effort, this no look save/pass to Kinsley Barrington from Trinity San Antonio would’ve been higher up on the list too.

7. Scott’s half-court 3-pointer at third quarter buzzer in Battle of the Piney Woods

Rivalries can bring out the best in teams and there’s no doubt the Battle of the Piney Woods has done so in every sport. Women’s basketball is no different and with one last regular season matchup, there’s another memory to add to the book. This one courtesy of Angel Scott who hit one from half court at the third quarter buzzer.

8. Miller goes off against UTA in big win at Moody Coliseum

It was January 7th and Madi Miller led Abilene Christian to a 20-point win over UT Arlington with a career day including 29 points with seven rebounds and four assists. Miller connected on seven shots from beyond the arc including this one early in the fourth quarter.

Miller finished the season shooting 37.4 percent from beyond the arc, the highest mark of her career and also set a new high of 150 career rebounds (5.0 per contest).

9. Schmidt’s big day leads Lancers to opening night win over UT Arlington

It was December 29 when the WAC regular season campaign began for CBU with a home matchup against UT Arlington. Playing after the Christmas break is like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re going to get. On this night, CBU got what was then a career night from freshman Grace Schmidt in her WAC debut en route to WAC Hoops Digest Freshman of the Year honors and an All-WAC Second Team selection.

Schmidt set her career-high in scoring eight days later at Utah Valley in a 69-61 win with 28 points. But to do what she did on opening night against a squad that made the NCAA tournament a year ago earns her a spot on this list.

10. Harrison’s big night pushes Ladyjacks to second round of WNIT

Jordan Harrison has developed into one of the WAC’s best distributors. However, in SFA’s WNIT first round game against Texas State, the freshman guard also showed she could score, recording a career-high 28 points in an 89-79 win.

SFA fell in the second round but finished the year as one of four WAC programs to record 20-plus wins in 2022-23.


About the author

Derryl Trujillo

Derryl Trujillo is a Southern California based sportswriter who won the 2019 Inland Empire Baseball Coaches Association's Supporter of the Year award. He joined the WAC Hoops Digest staff in 2020 and also covers local sports for Inland Sports and the Valley News. Before transitioning to media Derryl was a high school, collegiate and club volleyball official along with serving as a high school basketball scorekeeper for ten years.

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