March: Cherita Daugherty Sinks Three-Point Heave At Buzzer to Edge New Mexico State

March: Cherita Daugherty Sinks Three-Point Heave At Buzzer to Edge New Mexico State

By: Keller Sherman

Featured Image Courtesy of Southern Utah Athletics

LAS VEGAS — March is considered the best month in the sports calendar for many reasons. One of those reasons was on full display Wednesday night in a thrilling victory for Southern Utah. With 3.4 seconds to play, Cherita Daugherty took her shot with the Thunderbirds’ season hanging in the balance. To the disbelief of her and just about everyone in Orleans Arena, it found the bottom of the net. SUU escaped an upset bid by New Mexico State in a 62-61 final. The Thunderbirds move on to the semifinals where they will face Grand Canyon.

Cardiac Thunderbirds

SUU has made a name for itself for all of its second-half comebacks this season. The 16-point halftime hole the Thunderbirds fell into on Wednesday was the biggest against a WAC opponent all season. That did not deter this team as the Thunderbirds used a 21-6 3rd quarter to take a one-point lead into the final frame. SUU opened as big as a five-point lead, but the Aggies never went away. NMSU had a five-point lead of their own with 8 seconds to go, but then everything went right for SUU in the following sequence. Megan Jensen made a layup, then was fouled and made the ensuing free throw. Sylena Peterson drew a foul for the Aggies but missed both shots at the charity stripe. After timeouts from both sides, Daugherty took a desperation shot that went and won it for the Thunderbirds.

Individual Highlights

Tomekia Whitman started and led the scoring with 18 points. Daylani Ballena and the hero of the game, Cherita Daugherty both went for 14. NMSU got four players in double figures led by Molly Kaiser’s 15-point effort. Sylena Peterson, Tayelin Grays, and Soufia Inoussa went for 14, 13, and 11 points respectively. A quieter night from Samantha Johnston, Lizzy Willamson, and Megan Jensen helped the Aggies immensely. NMSU shut down SUU’s best players early and seemed poised for the upset stopped only by a miracle.

On Deck

The semifinals against Grand Canyon Friday afternoon at 2:00 PM. The Lopes survived an upset bid from Seattle U Wednesday night 85-80.

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