TIFFIN, Ohio - Tied at 71 apiece, Wayne State's Nastassja Chambers drove down the lane and got the game-winning layup to go with two seconds left to lift the Warriors to a 73-71 victory over Tiffin women's basketball in the Dragons' home opener on Saturday afternoon.
Now at 2-2 on the year, each of Tiffin's last two outings also came down to the wire, but the Dragons were able to convert late go-ahead buckets and pick up wins in both situations. Today, however, a turnover as time expired took away the chance for a third-straight thrilling victory.
The game was much closer throughout than the last matchup between the Dragons and Warriors on Feb. 3 last season, as Wayne State led by double digits for most of the contest before Tiffin cut it to a seven-point defeat, 66-59, with a late fourth-quarter run.
The two teams shot nearly identically from the field, with Tiffin holding an ever-so-slight edge at 39.7% to Wayne State's 39.1%. The Dragons shot better from deep, making 10 of 17 three-point attempts (58.8%) compared to the Warriors' 45.5%. TU outrebounded WSU 44-39, but it was the Warriors winning the turnover battle as Tiffin commited 13 and Wayne State just seven. Those turnovers proved to be costly, as the Warriors outscored the Dragons 16-4 in points off turnovers.
Wayne State opened the game with back-to-back triples to take an early 6-0 lead, and it wasn't until almost three minutes into the game that Tiffin got on the board with a three from the hands of Ali Schirmer. The Warriors were able to extend their lead to 11-3 and then 20-10 with 2:10 remaining in the opening quarter. However, a driving layup by Sarah Cummings and a pair of triples from Annie Santucci sparked a quick 8-0 run for the Dragons that cut the Warrior lead to 20-18 at the end of the first period.
The teams traded buckets for most of the second quarter, as Tiffin could not regain the lead and Wayne State went up by as much as eight before taking a 44-40 lead into halftime.
The third period was back-and-forth as well, as TU and WSU each put 13 points on the board to move the score to 57-53 heading into the final 10 minutes of regulation.
A Warrior layup extended their lead to six, 61-55, with 8:06 to play. A few possessions later, though, it was Schirmer drilling a deep three off a beautiful assist from Santucci to knot things up at 65, marking the first time that the Warriors were not in the lead since it was 0-0.
The Dragons would take their first lead of the game at the 3:33 mark, as Cummings drained a pair of free throws to put Tiffin up 69-68. A Wayne State free throw followed by two more from Cummings gave the Dragons a 71-69 lead with 2:23 left, but that proved to be the last time TU would put points on the board in the game.
WSU's Chambers tied things up at 71 with 1:46 to play, and then after misses on both ends of the floor, she was able to convert the game-winner with two seconds remaining for the victory.
Chambers finished with a game-high 16 points, while Ja'Nae Williams added 14 points and nine rebounds for the Warriors.
The Dragons were led by Schirmer and Santucci, who both tallied 14 points, each shooting 5-9 from the field and 4-6 from deep. Sarah Cummings played very well off the bench, just missing a double-double with 13 points and eight boards.
Next up for Tiffin will be an away game at the University of Indianapolis on Nov. 25 at 2:00 p.m. Conference play will then begin on the 29th as the Dragons will welcome G-MAC preseason No. 1 Findlay to Old Fort Bank Court at 5:30 p.m.