EDWARDSVILLE – Lauren White hit the shot heard round the Vadalabene Center Wednesday night.
The 5-foot, 8-inch redshirt junior guard from Edwardsville sank a 25-foot buzzer-beater to give SIUE women's basketball a 70-69 win over Southeast Missouri in Ohio Valley Conference competition.
"I've never made a shot like that in my life," said the excited White after connecting on her long-distance game-winner. "I sort of had to throw it at the basket, and I couldn't believe it went in there. It's the biggest shot I ever made in my life."
The Cougars, snapping a four-game skid, improved to 6-13 overall and 2-4 in the OVC. SEMO fell to 8-11 and 2-4.
"I'm so happy for our kids," SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher said. "We needed to win it for a lot of reasons, mostly to creep up in the standings and for our morale. Since I've been here in five years, I've never seen us have something like this to end a game. But that's the OVC. Everybody plays it to the buzzer."
SEMO, which trailed 51-34 in the third quarter, used a furious fourth quarter rally to overturn SIUE's advantage. Adrianna Mitchell of the Redhawks hit a 15-footer with 0.9 seconds remaining to give them a 69-67 lead.
The Cougars called time and set up a final play. Nakiah Bell inbounded the basketball to White, who promptly shot it. The officials ruled it good and reviewed the play to confirm the basket.
"This win will definitely give us some confidence going into our next game," said White, who scored a game-high 17 points. She also collected eight rebounds. Amri Wilder contributed a career-best 16 points, Donshel Beck pitched in with 11 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, while Sydney Bauman had another double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
"It was a great win," Buscher said. "Give SEMO a lot of credit. They were tough to guard, and we tried to defend them in a lot of ways."
White added, "We had to grind it out, and it was a good team win."
The Cougars made 27 of 57 shots, including 7 of 23 from 3-point range. They converted 9 of 17 free throws and outrebounded the Redhawks 44-25. Mandy Madden, Lakyn Gulley and Murphy all tallied 15 points, tops for SEMO.
"We could have made easier for ourselves if we would have made our free throws," Buscher said.
SIUE travels to UT Martin for a 4 p.m. game Saturday and then welcomes Tennessee State at 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 25 at the Vadalabene Center. More than 3,000 youngsters will be at the Vadalabene Center for a special field trip day intiative.
"If we keep playing with confidence, I believe we can beat anybody in the conference," Buscher said.