After a week off, the Portland Pilots returned to Chiles Center on Monday to play host to the Pacific Tigers.
The Pilots hoped to get back in the win column after suffering an upset lost to San Diego that last time they took the floor.
The Pilots got back to their winning way, but they had to battle for the win.
Portland held Pacific to just 12 points in the first quarter but scored just 16 themselves. The Pilots had the small lead, but the Tigers pounced in the second quarter to knot the game up at 29 by halftime.
The two were playing neck and neck, but Portland took over to start the second half.
Portland outscored the Tigers 21-12 in the quarter. Pacific shot just 1-of-12 in the quarter, scoring 10 of its 12 points from the free-throw line. The Pilots defense was solid, and the offense ended the period with a buzzer-beating three from the corner by freshman Tyler Mccliment-Call. The bucket gave Portland the 50-41 lead, and would probably end up being the biggest bucket of the night. More on that later.
The nine-point lead withered away in the fourth as Pacific turned its offense around, big time. The Tigers shot 36.4% in the first half, 8.3% in the third quarter, but exploded to shoot 64.3% in the fourth. Pacific chipped away at the Pilots lead and a layup from Valerie Higgins tied the game at 67-all with 42 seconds left in the game.
On the ensuing possession, Pilots star Haylee Andrews was fouled on the go-ahead jumper attempt, missed the shot, but had a chance to seal it from the free throw line. With 18 seconds left in the game Andrews stepped to the line, and the 70% free throw shooter shocked everyone by missing both attempts... But it wasn't over.
As the second free throw came off the rim, Alex Fowler picked up the huge offensive rebound. UP called timeout with 15 second left and would have one more chance to claim victory.
With the game on the line, the team turned right back to Andrews.
The junior guard, with ice in her veins, scored the go-ahead bucket with one second remaining to give Portland the 69-67 victory.
Now, back to the end of the third quarter. Portland rushed down the court just hoping to get one last shot off before time ran out. They did, and that Mccliment-Call three ended up being the difference between that Pilots winning and losing.
Had she missed that shot, then the final 15 seconds would have been entirely different. Andrews would have been looking for a three to tie it, not two to win. In a game where every bucket mattered, Andrews hit the final one, but Mccliment-Call may have hit the most important one.
Next Up: The Pilots return to action on Thursday, February 11th to take on Santa Clara. Tipoff is set for 5:00pm of Chiles Center