SAN BERNARDINO Senior center Vanessa Wilt was the logical choice for the last shot, but she wasnt open. Junior forward Jaclyn Rainville was and Ashlee Ford spotted her just in time.
Rainville got a pass from the sophomore point guard, then hit a jumper right in front of the basket as time expired, boosting Cal State San Bernardino to a 75-74 non-conference win over Ferris State (Mich.) on Saturday at Coussoulis Arena.
It was perhaps the biggest win of the season thus far for the Coyotes (8-1). And it came over a foe that made the NCAA Tournament a year ago.
This will be a big confidence builder for us, Wilt said. It lets us know we can play with anyone, even teams that made the NCAA Tournament. We can make the tournament too.
Wilt scored 32 points, grabbed 19 rebounds and and blocked three shots to give her a double-double for the ninth consecutive game, but it was Rainville delivering at the last second.
The Bulldogs (7-4) had taken a 74-73 lead on a 3-point play by Teghan Thelen with 26 seconds left.
The Coyotes Shanae Blake missed a 3-pointer on the other end and a scramble for a loose ball ensued.
The alternate possession arrow pointed to Cal State San Bernardino, and coach Kevin Becker called a timeout to set up a play. But when the teams came out of the break, officials said the arrow was incorrect and gave the ball to the Bulldogs.
That meant the Coyotes had to foul, with Ford getting a hand on Katie Loosvelt with nine seconds left. She missed the free throw and Rainville grabbed the loose ball. Rainville unleashed the pass to Ford who drove down court, then went to the baseline.
I was open and she (Ford) made a great pass, Rainville said. Im sure everyone thought we were going to Vanessa, but I had a good, open shot.
It ended a competitive game that featured nine ties, the last one at 71-71 with 2:37 left. Other than 3-0 to start the game, Cal States biggest lead was two points at 25-23. Ferris State led by as many as seven in the opening half at 16-9 and by eight in the second half at 47-39 at the 16:08 mark.
Ferris State shot 50 percent (30-for-60) for the game and a sizzling 58 percent (17-for-29) in the opening half. It had balance with 11 players figuring in the scoring and led by senior Rachel Folcik, who had 23. She also grabbed seven rebounds.
Only five players factored in for the Coyotes, but four of them accounted for 73 of the teams 75. Sophomore Krystal Urzua had 19, including three 3-pointers, Rainville scored 13 points and Blake scored nine as the Coyotes shot only 37.3 percent (28-for-75).
The Coyotes trailed 67-64 when they turned up the pressure defensively and forced Ferris into turnovers on back-to-back possessions. Blake then hit a 3-pointer to tie it with 4:25 left. It was tight the rest of the way.
We went more to the press. That takes some of the thinking out of it, Becker said. We were able to make some things happen and took advantage of that on the offensive end.
Coach is always telling us we own the last five minutes, Rainville said. Tonight we really did.
The Coyotes return to conference play next weekend in hosting Cal State Los Angeles Friday and Dominguez Hills on Saturday.