The Buena Vista women's basketball team overcame a 13-point fourth quarter deficit with a late basket from senior Jasmine Demers before a steal and layup from McKenna Whitehill added insurance in the final seconds as the Beavers edged the University of Dubuque 58-55 inside of Siebens Fieldhouse.
With the team trailing 55-54 and the clock ticking down, Demers drove to the basket and was able to kiss one in off glass with the left hand while drawing a foul with 10 seconds left. It was BVU's first lead since the first quarter. She went on to miss the free-throw and the Spartans grabbed the rebound, called timeout and advanced the ball into the front court. After a pair of timeouts, they inbounded from the near sideline and after a pass to the near side, Whitehill came from behind and poked the ball out and went coast-to-coast for an insurance basket as time expired.
Whitehill put the Beavers on the board first at 2-0 with a layup two minutes into the contest, but that was about all that went right for BVU in the opening frame. The team made just three of its first 21 shots and trailed after 14-5 heading to the second. The shooting struggles continued, but the defensive effort was there and that kept the team within striking distance at 35-24 going into the half.
BVU cut the deficit to five in the third quarter but the Spartans closed the period strong and led by 12 going to the final frame. The defensive effort really picked up yet again as the team switched to more of a zone, and that's when Demers and Morgan Muhlbauer went to work on the offensive end.
After a free-throw from Dubuque made it a 47-34 contest just a minute into the period, Demers hit a three-point shot that made it a 10-point game and helped jump start the 24-9 run by the Beavers. Both her and Muhlabuer scored 10 points in the final stanza to help lead the charge.
Demers finished with a team-high 14 points on 6-of-17 shooting and also grabbed nine rebounds. Muhlbauer, meanwhile, added 13 points and seven boards and was 5-of-6 at the free-throw line. Whitehill finished just shy of double digits with nine points to go along with three steals. Claudia Larsen moved into second place on the program's all-time blocks list with four more tonight, giving her 110 in her career. She trails Jocelyn Kock (127) for the all-time lead. She also added seven points, seven rebounds and five assists.
The Beavers shot 31 percent from the field overall, including 8-of-27 from downtown. They held the Spartans to only 30 percent from the field and forced 21 turnovers. Dubuque was able to stay in the contest by going 14-of-17 at the charity stripe.
Prior to the game, the team honored its four seniors (Demers, Larsen, Jess Denholm and Abby Daily) who were playing their last regular season home game. Head coach Janet Berry was also recognized in what could possibly be her final home contest after serving 26 years as head coach.
Buena Vista salvages the season split of the series and improves to 12-11 overall (7-7 IIAC). The team is currently tied with Simpson for fourth in the standings and just a half game ahead of Loras with only two games left. The Beavers now travel to Dubuque to face the Duhawks on Saturday at 2:00pm. Loras took the first meeting in Storm Lake, 76-73.