Double Overtime in Omaha, Gilmore Sets Program Record

Dylan Leasure, Courier Staff

The Western Illinois women’s basketball team faced off against Omaha at Baxter Arena on Saturday, Feb. 6. In what was seemingly a back and forth battle for four quarters and some, the Leathernecks eventually found themselves on the other end of a double-overtime thriller. While the astonishing performance by senior guard Grace Gilmore set a program record on Saturday evening, with two strokes of luck, Omaha came out on top with two buzzer beaters to show for it. The point differential stayed between two to six points for the majority of the game, with 26 lead changes throughout its entirety, and it wasn’t until the final few seconds of the fourth quarter that the Leathernecks seemed to be pulling out a win. That was until a three-point buzzer beater by the Mavericks’ Claire Killian tied the game and forced overtime in Omaha. In the first overtime, Western Illinois had a four-point lead with 27 seconds left thanks to two layups from forward Evan Zars and Gilmore. At this point, Gilmore had 36 points in the game, and they were 27 seconds away from a win. After a turn of events, Omaha’s Sarah Schmitt threw in a buzzer beating layup in the paint to tie the game at 92. With double overtime in the works, Gilmore was building an extremely impressive performance to go down in the history books here at Western Illinois University. Putting the scoring on her back, she scored 10 more in double overtime and Western came back from a 102-94 trail with a 7-2 push. Unfortunately, Western lost in the final seconds 102-105. However, do not let this loss take away from what was not only an impressive but masterful performance by Gilmore and the WIU women’s basketball team hitting a combined 16 three pointers including seven players hitting at least one. With Gilmore scoring the second-most points by an NCAA player this season, she has officially taken her final run here at WIU to the next level. Other box score statistics included guard Elizabeth Lutz hitting four three-pointers and finishing with 18 points, two steals and three assists. Two other Leathernecks jumped into the double-digit column as well with Zars scoring 11 and Carla Flores putting up 10. Flores also had an impressive seven assists on Saturday which made up a third of the team’s total of 23 assists. The team went 12-20 on free throws with Gilmore making 10 of her 16. The team finished with a field goal percentage of 52.9, a 3-point percentage of 44.4, and a free throw percentage of 60. While it may have not been enough to grab the win on Saturday, game two is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon and the Western Illinois Leathernecks are hopeful to leave Omaha with a win before heading home to face Denver on the 12th. Let’s go Leathernecks!