LANGSTON, Okla. -- Despite opening the game on a scorching 20-5 run, the John Brown University women's basketball team could not overcome a strong offensive performance from Asheika Alexander -- including the game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer -- en route to a wild 72-71 loss to Langston (Okla.) on Thursday evening inside C.F. Gayles Fieldhouse.
Six first quarter triples, featuring three from senior Maddie Altman, gave the Golden Eagles (3-4, 0-1 SAC) a 13-point lead at the conclusion of the first frame. After a strong second quarter from the Lions (5-1, 1-0 SAC), a layup from Talia Edwards cut the lead to six with 1:01 left in the half. A free throw from junior Tarrah Stephens would have the Golden Eagles up 40-33 at the intermission.
With the Golden Eagles up nine early in the third quarter, Alexander went on a personal 10-1 run, capped off with a fadeaway midrange jumper from the free throw line, to tie the game at 45 apiece. A split at the line from sophomore Natalie Smith and a Stephens slashing layup put JBU up three with 4:27 remaining in the third.
With the two sides trading baskets for the remainder of the third quarter, a Tarrah Stephens trip to the charity stripe gave JBU a 55-53 lead heading into the fourth.
With the Golden Eagles leading 58-55 in the fourth, back-to-back threes from Langston's Alanna Spencer put the Lions up three. Smith answered with a dagger of her own, tying the game at 61. After the two teams traded points, evening the game at 63, a strong drive and finish from Stephens in the lane put the Golden Eagles up 65-63 with 3:05 remaining, setting up a wild finish.
One minute later, a triple from Taliyah Harris put Langston up 66-65, but another strong bucket from Stephens gave the Golden Eagles a one-point lead. A subsequent stop gave the Golden Eagles a chance to add insurance points, but a turnover with 47 seconds remaining gave Langston another opportunity.
In the next possession, Langston's Grace Williams struck with a massive triple to put Langston up 69-67. After a Langston foul on the following JBU possession, Tarrah Stephens knotted the game up with two free throws and 11 seconds remaining. After Langston couldn't convert on the offensive end, a clutch Stephens jumper off the inbound put the Golden Eagles up 71-69 with one second remaining.
With the game on the line and despite bobbling the inbounds, a contested three from the left wing at the buzzer from Alexander fell, handing Langston a shocking 72-71 win to open conference play.
Stephens paced the Golden Eagles with 24 points, while Altman chipped in 16.
Alexander led the Lions with 28 points on 11-of-24 shooting.
The Golden Eagles were scheduled to host Central Christian (Kan.) on Saturday. Results were not available at presstime.
JBU returns to the court at 6:05 p.m. Tuesday against Lyon.