DU falls short of victory against Xavier

The Dillard University versus Xavier University womens basketball game was a heart wrenching fight to the last second on the score clock, that had fans switching their eyes from the court to the time clock until the sound of the buzzer.

The Lady Blue Devils looked relaxed and ready to play the Gold Nuggets to a packed Dent Hall during the warm-up, minutes before the game was to start. The voice of Teandrea Moore singing the national anthem had the gym ready to see two great teams compete for bragging rights.

XU put to the first two points on the scoreboard and started off with a full court press on defense. The score was kept close during the staring minutes of the game but Xavier�s press was giving our Blue Devils some trouble. Dillard ran into more difficulty when it seemed like rebounds were few and far between. XU continued with their efficient defense when they implemented the double-team on key ball handlers. As the game continued Dillard figured out how to outwit XU on the full court press.

The Lady Blue Devils continued to play hard and aggressive to keep the score in range. The aggressiveness along with some tacky calls from the referees put the Lady Blue Devils into foul trouble. Consequently it put the Gold Nuggets into the bonus with more than seven minutes to go until halftime.

On a defensive note the Lady Blue Devils decided to implement the full court press, however it didn�t seem as efficient, as the XU players were able to beat it. Annabelle Manalo, junior guard, put up a much-needed shot to tie the game minutes before halftime. DU was unsuccessful in getting their rebounds. XU beat them to the ball numerous times to get their own rebound at least three times from one of their missed shots. Although DU was keeping up with the points scored by XU, the many turnovers brought the end of the half with DU down by eight points.

DU came out the locker room looking refreshed with a renewed sense of ownership. Roshawnda Bolton, sophomore guard, took over the game and gave DU fans a wave of excitement when she stole the ball from an overconfident XU player.

DU was on a comeback from a 12-point deficit. The Blue Devils kept the fans satisfied when they tied the game with 10 minutes left in the second half.

"We did not play the full forty minutes of the game, we only played the second half," freshman guard Patricia Millner said.

As soon as DU fans thought they had the game wrapped up, XU extended the lead once again. DU missed two fast break lay-ups back to back. Minutes later, Ebony Owens, senior guard made a desperate three pointer putting DU only behind by four points. Sandra Nweke, freshman forward, a key offensive player fouls out with two minutes remaining. Dillard came back and was ready to bring home the bragging rights.

It was an intensely close game and anyone could feel the tension of players and fans alike. DU is down by one point with a minute to go. The clock counts down and now DU is down by three points with 37 seconds remaining. Everyone’s eyes intensely watch the clock as time passes and then they switch them to the court to see Owens make the three pointer to tie the game.

Lady Blue Devil fans were in awe and realized that the win was at the tip of their fingers. The looks on the faces of Gold Nugget fans were ones of fear and disappointment. DU fans become disgruntled when the referees were discussing the shot. A referee held up two fingers signaling that Ownens’ three pointer was a field goal. The referees declared that her feet were on, not behind the three-point line.

The players take out their disbelief with hard defense. Nasira Johnson, junior guard, made a two pointer to give DU the lead by one. The crowd can�t be controlled and the hearts of DU fans are beating to a point of exhaustion. If an outsider had walked into Dent he would have thought this was a WNBA championship game.

XU comes right back down the court and makes a lay-up for two points. Mouths drop open in disbelief because DU fans were sure they had this game won. There are 2.2 seconds left on the clock, it’s DU’s ball and they are down by one point. DU throws the ball inbound. A player takes position, guarded aggressively by a XU player. She gets the shot off but it barely makes it near the goal. The referees call no foul and time runs out. At the sound of the buzzer XU players and fans both jump up in excitement and DU looses by one point. DU fans are disappointed, but realize that our Lady Blue Devils played their hearts out and that XU barely pulled out the win.

Sandra Nweke, freshman forward, expressed her emotions about the game.

"We really came together as a team but started breaking down in defense toward the end," Nweke said.

We shall meet again on February 26, 2005 at the New Orleans Arena.