YORK – The York College Panthers came up just short of pulling off the upset against Kansas Wesleyan Wednesday night in the Freeman Center. York jumped out to a quick nine point lead after the first quarter, but the offense cooled off down the stretch in the 57-60 final.
Kellie Fredendall (FR/Jefferson City, MO) led the Panthers with 11 points off the bench. Ve’a Gauta (FR/Anaheim, CA) and Sofia McGee (FR/El Paso, Texas) added eight points each while Gauta caromed in 14 rebounds.
York jumped out to a nine point lead after the first quarter, before the Coyotes answered in the second quarter, outscoring the Panthers 18-10. York went into the break up 32-31 after shooting 46% from the floor.
In the second half the York offense struggled as Wesleyan’s defense forced 11 turnovers. However, the Panthers battled as hard as they could but couldn’t get the baskets to fall in the final minute of the game.
Trailing by nine with just over two minutes to play Nakia Hackel (SO/Arlington, TX) drained a three and then picked up a steal to bring the momentum toward the Panthers. Ciara Williams (JR/San Diego, CA) drew a foul inside but was unable to convert on her free throws. Gauta picked up a steal on the next possession and Williams converted both free throws this time to put the Panthers within four points with 35 seconds remaining.
York was forced to foul and the Coyotes’ Gabbie Miller missed both free throws keeping the Panthers alive. Nakia Hackel was sent to the line with 16 seconds remaining and sank both for a one-possession game. Another steal by the Panthers, Kelsey Sharkey (SR/Lakeview, SD), gave York the opportunity to send the game into overtime with a layup. However, Williams was short on the toss and hit the bottom of the rim with 13 seconds remaining.
York fouled again and Miller missed both shots at the charity stripe with 11 seconds to go. Sharkey turned the ball over on the next possession and a foul was forced again with two seconds remaining. A miss gave the Panthers hope with a desperation three by Hackel, but it came up short as the buzzer sounded.
York played a solid game against the Coyotes but 25 turnovers was the difference as Wesleyan converted 23 points off of those give-a-ways.
York falls to 3-4 on the season and will travel to Bartlesville, Oklahoma for a 3:00 p.m. tip-off against Oklahoma Wesleyan on Saturday.