Blue Jays Defeated By Gorloks 87-84 In SLIAC Championship Game

Picture By Brian Lovellette
Picture By Brian Lovellette

St. Louis, MO 2/25/2023- For the third straight year, the Westminster College women's basketball team faced off against the Webster University Gorloks in the conference tournament championship game. The Blue Jays won the first match-up in 2021, the Gorloks evened things up last and the rubber match took place on Saturday afternoon from Grant Gym at Webster University. The winner of the game would be the 2023 SLIAC Conference Champion and guaranteed a spot in the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament.

It was a back-and-forth affair, from the opening tip to the final buzzer. There would be 16 ties and 24 lead changes. The Blue Jays led after the first quarter 19-14. The Gorloks would come back and take a 42-41 lead at halftime. The game would remain close in the third quarter with Webster taking a 63-60 lead heading into the fourth and final quarter.

Natalie Archambault (Eureka, MO/-) scored on an offensive rebound put back to put the Blue Jays within one point of Webster. The Gorloks would go on a 9-0 run and took a 71-62 lead, with 7:37 remaining. Westminster refusing to go away battled back with a pair of free throws from Aly Bullock (St. James, Mo/ St. James) made a pair of free throws, freshman guard Carli Libhart (Rolla, MO/ Rolla) made perhaps the biggest three of her young career to put Westminster down 71-67 with 6:05 remaining. The Gorloks would come down the floor their next possession and answer with a three of their own. There would be a media timeout with 5:50 left on the clock. After the timeout, Caragan Lockard (Eolia, MO / Clopton) would start a 5-0 run for the Blue Jays that ended with the hero from the semi-final game and the Blue Jays' lone senior Shelby Kurtz (Camdenton, MO/ Camdenton) knocking down a three-pointer to get the Jays within three at 76-73 with 3:10 to play. The game would screech to a halt and become a free-throw battle down the stretch. The Blue Jays would foul and the Gorloks would make two free throws. Webster would foul Lockard and she knocked down two free throws. The Gorloks would score a basket and get fouled on the shot. They would make the free throw to complete the three-point play and go up 83-77 in the last minute and a half.

Annette Ramirez (Sarcoxie, MO / Sarcoxie) was fouled while attempting a three-pointer. She would go to the line and make all three free throws. She would put the Blue Jays right back in it once again down three points, 83-80. Kurtz would get a steal and score a layup off the fast break to make it 83-82. Webster would score right back and go back up 85-82 with 30 seconds left. Westminster would foul to extend the game. The Gorloks would make both free throws and go up 87-82. Kurtz would get fouled and she would make both of her free throws, 87-84 with 22 seconds on the clock. The Blue Jays would foul again. This time Webster would miss both free throws, giving the Blue Jays a chance to tie it. Westminster would come down the court with time running down. They would find Kurtz who let go of a three with 8 seconds left and hoping for a little more magic. The shot would not fall and Webster grabbed the rebound, forcing the Blue Jays to foul with 5 seconds left. The Gorloks would once again miss both free throws, giving Westminster one last chance to tie it at the buzzer, but the shot was not let go in time and was offline, anyway. Webster holds on to win the game 87-84 to win the 2023 SLIAC Championship game and moves on as the SLIAC representative in the NCAA National Tournament.

After the game, it was announced that Ramirez and Kurtz were both named to the SLIAC All-Tournament team.

Ramirez led the Blue Jays with 25 points and 6 rebounds. She was 8-17 from the field and 8-8 from the line. Kurtz had 19 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals in her final game in a Blue Jay uniform. She would go 6-17 from the field, including three three-pointers, and was a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line. Lockard had 17 points and 5 rebounds.

The Blue Jays end their season with an 18-10 record overall and went 10-4 in the SLIAC. Congratulations on a great season and a great tournament run. We would also like to congratulate Shelby Kurtz on her distinguished career and wish her the best of luck as she begins her professional career.

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