On April 20, the Jones College women’s basketball team began their title bid against the Western Nebraska Lady Cougars. The Lady Bobcats were upset, losing in the first round of the national tournament to the Lady Cougars.
They had a rough start to the game and went into an early 17-point deficit with 3:48 left in the second quarter. Head Coach Missy Bilderback attributed their early struggles to “foul trouble and exceptional shooting from Western Nebraska in the first half.” The Lady Bobcats shot a staggering 28 percent from the field and 30 percent from the three-point line. Defensively, they also allowed the Lady Cougars to shoot 40 percent from the field and 33 percent from the three-point line. The score was 24-36 Lady Cougars at halftime.
The Lady Bobcats came out firing on all cylinders in the third quarter, shooting 52.94 percent from the field, 33.33 percent from the three-point line, and 71.43 percent from the free throw line. They still allowed Western Nebraska to shoot a high percentage from the field but managed to close the gap to a six-point deficit, outscoring the Lady Cougars 25-19 in the third quarter. At the end of the third, the Lady Cougars led 55-49. The fourth quarter seemed to be a quarter determined on defense.
The Lady Bobcats and the Lady Cougars both had a low shooting in the final quarter. The Lady Bobcats shot 23.53 percent from the field, 20 percent from the three-point line, and 50 percent from the free throw line. The Lady Cougars shot 17.65 percent from the field, 0.00 percent from the three-point line, and went 100 percent from the free throw line. Even though the Lady Bobcats outscored the Lady Cougars 11-8 in the quarter, their effort fell just short on a missed, contested three-pointer by LeKera Hughes. The Lady Bobcats lost 60-63. Sophomore forward Endia Holiday spoke on their first-round exit.
“The loss was a heartbreaker. Losing was a gut punch because I know the work it took to put the team in a position to win a national championship. I can only encourage the freshmen to use this experience and feeling as motivation to do better and want more. I would say to never take an opportunity for granted. Cherish the moments. If you’re going to go down, go down fighting with everything in you. Don’t allow outsiders to deter you from what you’re trying to accomplish. I will miss the laughs and winning moments we shared together. I will miss playing with this team of women. My fondest memory that I will reflect on is how we all put our differences aside to find a way to win. I’m grateful for the time I shared with the team,” Holiday said.
The Lady Bobcats had four players finish in double figures. JaKayla Johnson and Endia Holiday both finished with 15 points, and Lekera Hughes and Daisha Bradford finished with 11 points. This was the Lady Bobcats’ only loss of the season.
After the loss, Bilderback said she told her team, “What an incredible season. How many people can say they had an undefeated regular season and won a region championship. Only one team will win a national championship. It’s incredibly difficult to win a region championship or a championship of any kind. So, we are very proud of them. I am proud of the historic year we had. One loss and bad luck doesn’t take away from that at all. This was a special team. And obviously, the #1 ranking was something that had never been accomplished.”
by Johnathan Richardson