Either slow starts or bad quarters have derailed the Crowder Lady Roughriders during their five-game losing streak and that was definitely apparent during Tuesday night's contest against North Arkansas at Bob Sneller Gymnasium.
The Lady 'Riders surrendered the game's first 17 points, but to their credit, Sydney Linny's second-chance basket gave Crowder a 60-59 lead with only a few seconds remaining in regulation.
As her teammate penetrated the Crowder defense, North Arkansas guard Cambre McCullough found herself available for a look at the go-ahead 3-point shot on the left wing and she took the dish and knocked down the shot for a 62-60 score, 0.4 seconds remaining.
North Arkansas intercepted Crowder's desperation baseball pass and the Lady Pioneers earned a 62-60 victory.
"That's what I told them after the game," Crowder head coach Tina Wilson said. "The last shot's not what beat us, it's the fact that we started the game so poorly and we're down 17-0. That's hard to dig yourself out of that hole. I told them if we played the entire 40 minutes like we played the last 15 minutes, it would have been a different ballgame.
"Obviously, I'm proud of them for battling back and not quitting, but we've got to do a much better job of starting games. It starts at practice. We've got to do a better job of competing at practice and that will carry over to the game."
Crowder dropped its fifth straight contest and the Lady 'Riders enter their final games of December this weekend 4-8 overall this season.
Weather permitting, Crowder plays Northern Oklahoma-Enid at 7 p.m. Friday and the Lyon JV at 3 p.m. Saturday.
On Tuesday night, Crowder's bench provided a major spark with 38 of the team's 60 points.
Former Neosho High standout and Crowder sophomore guard Linny, who had her former high school coach Grant Berendt in attendance and cheering her on from the front row, scored 11 points and grabbed two rebounds with no points and no rebound bigger than her rebound of a Kourtney Shipley miss and then a high-arching shot for that 60-59 lead.
Linny hit nearly half of Crowder's seven trifectas with three.
Shipley's 3-point shot broke Crowder's scoreless spell to start the game and the Lady 'Riders trailed 21-10 after one quarter.
Shipley finished with six points, two rebounds, and four assists.
Before leaving the game late with an injury, Ashley Reichert hit for nine points and she hit a shot at the halftime buzzer to keep Crowder within double-digits at halftime.
Tricia Wattman and Alex Vogt, former high school rivals in the Big 8 Conference (Wattman at McDonald County, Vogt at Carl Junction), added seven and five points, respectively. Wattman grabbed six rebounds.
Elle Williams led Crowder with 15 points and the other four starters netted only seven more points.
Maia Wright, however, led Crowder with seven rebounds and she dished out three assists and made a pair of steals. Maegan Bandimere blocked two shots.
Conversely, North Arkansas received 54 of its points from its starting lineup with three players in double-digits, Leah Shellnut 17, Grace Coates 14, and Cheyenne Shelton 10.
McCullough scored all eight bench points, none bigger than her three to close it all out.
NORTH ARKANSAS 62, CROWDER 60
North Ark 21 18 16 7 — 62
Crowder 10 19 18 13 — 60
NORTH ARKANSAS (10-2) — Ashlynn Taylor 4, Tori Hayes 7, Cheyenne Shelton 10, Grace Coates 14, Leah Shellnut 17, Kiara Franklin 0, Makenzie Gardner 0, Cambre McCullough 8, Brooklyn Schmelter 0.
CROWDER (4-8) — Thathianna Sysavanh 2, Maegan Bandimere 0, Bethaney Gilkey 3, Maia Wright 2, Elle Williams 15, Tricia Wattman 7, Ashley Reichert 9, Sydney Linny 11, Aubrie Ayers 0, Kourtney Shipley 6, Alex Vogt 5.
3-point goals — North Arkansas 6 (McCullough 2, Shellnut 2, Hayes 1, Coates 1), Crowder 7 (Linny 3, Shipley 2, Reichert 1, Williams 1).