From NSU Sports Info.
Cedrique Flemming, Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Northeastern State women’s basketball team erased a 15-point deficit and needed a last-second 3-point play to defeat Lincoln 69-68 Thursday evening inside the NSU Event Center.

The RiverHawks (3-3, 1-0 MIAA) won their third-straight conference opener, while the Blue Tigers dropped to 4-2 on the year and 0-1 in the MIAA.

NSU quickly found itself trailing 23-8 midway through the first half, but the team was able to chip away and trail just 36-30 heading into the locker room.

A layup from freshman guard Alexis Hill opened the scoring in the second half, and the RiverHawks were able to keep the deficit to no more than four points until finally taking a lead with six minutes remaining in the contest.

LU’s Lizzie Nessling converted a basket at the 13:36 mark to put the visitors on top 46-43. Lincoln went cold for the next nine minutes, shooting 0-for-8 from the field in that span, but the Blue Tigers used 12 free throws to stay in the game as NSU piled up the fouls. LU trailed just 63-60 following a layup from Kate Frazier at the 4:57 mark, and the visitors regained the lead at the 3:40 mark on a pair of free throws from Dorian Briggs.

Three free throws from junior guard Kate Bellamy allowed Northeastern State to swing the advantage and give the home team a 66-65 lead with just 1:17 to play. The Blue Tigers had one final possession to try and earn the victory in the waning seconds, and Hunter Yoakum drained a triple with just 4.5 ticks remaining to push Lincoln ahead 68-66. LU made seven 3-point baskets in the first half but did not make another one until that last shot by Yoakum.

NSU called a timeout to draw up a play, and the inbounds went to Hill. She went coast-to-coast and converted a last-second layup while being fouled. After a lengthy review by the official’s, Hill calmly stepped to the free-throw line and gave her team the one-point victory.

After I hit the shot, everything was running through my mind,” Hill said.  “I just wanted to get it down for my team. Once I made it, I was so happy and excited for my team. Once I had to hit the free throw, I knew I had to get it for my team. I just had to finish and win it for my team.”

Hill finished with 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting in 33 minutes. Senior guard Chelsey Beathard poured in a career-high 18 points, and fellow senior guard Fontana Tate added 10 in the winning effort.

Northeastern State shot 36.8 percent (21-for-57) from the field, 41.2 percent (7-for-17) from 3-point territory and 80 percent (20-for-25) at the free-throw line. Lincoln shot an identical 36.8 percent (21-for-57) from the field, 28.6 percent (8-for-28) from downtown and 72 percent (18-for-25) at the charity stripe.

Briggs pace Blue Tigers with 16 points. Yoakum added 14, and Nessling chipped in 10 rebounds.

Northeastern State will remain in Tahlequah for a 1:30 p.m. tilt Dec. 6 against Lindenwood.

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