Late run propels Wright State women into Horizon League semifinals


FAIRBORN — Outside shooting was keeping Wright State in the game, but it wasn’t going to be what would win it for them in stretch time.

The more the Raiders remained patient to try and dissect Milwaukee’s zone, things began to fall their way.

Producing a 14-0 run in the closing minutes, Wright State’s Horizon League Tournament remains ongoing in earning a 70-60 win Thursday at the Nutter Center.

Wright State didn’t allow a point for more than six minutes during the fourth quarter to help give them time to overcome early shooting woes.

“I’ve ever seen this team defend that hard and be that urgent to get stops,” head coach Kari Hoffman said. “Came down with all the boards we needed to and then went and got a bunch of offensive rebounds too. They were determined to go take the game and they did that.”

WSU missed 19 of its first 20 attempts from three as the Raiders fell behind by eight during the first half. After shooting nearly 50 percent from deep during the middle quarters and gaining a three-point lead heading into the fourth, the outside shots began to dry up again as Milwaukee regained a 55-51 lead with 5:05 to play.

Alexis Hutchison ramped up the aggressiveness to get into the paint, while Layne Ferrell worked her way near the top of the key for open midrange jumpers. The duo got the Raiders’ offense jump started again as the team chained together stops on the other end of the floor.

“I think it had a lot to do with knowing that this was do or die right now,” Ferrell said. “You kind of realize that when there’s four minutes left, now we’re down to either doing it now or don’t do it at all.”

Milwaukee had easily out-rebounded the Raiders in the two regular season meetings which the teams split against one another.

The battle was more even for most of Thursday’s game until the closing minutes when Wright State’s emphasis on winning that battle in the days leading up to the game paid off.

The Raiders never did make a three during the final period, but Hutchison said Huffman kept coaching the team the way to get back in the game was to keep alternating possessions with stops and scores to help solve the zone.

“We were determined to go out and take the game,” Hoffman said. “To play our best game of the season and I feel like we did that.”

Hutchison had 23 points to lead the Raiders and Ferrell added 17. Cara VanKempen scored 12 while making a trio of threes.

Wright State will play in the semifinals on Monday at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. They will face a to be determined opponent based on the results of the other tournament games being played Thursday.

Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on X (formerly Twitter) @Steven_Wright_.

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