Nov. 22, 2006
Anchorage, Alaska - A 10-foot floater in the lane by Jackie Closser just missed its mark as time expired, as Air Force held off a valiant Bulldog charge in the final minutes, keyed on 13 second-half points by freshman Susan Lester, to claim a 62-61 decision in the third-place game of the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout on Wednesday (Nov. 22).
Trailing the entire game and by nine with just over five minutes left in the contest at 55-46, the Bulldogs rallied back to tie the game at 59-59 with little more than a minute remaining. Lester was a one-woman wrecking crew, scoring 11 points in the final 4:34, including a lay-up with 18 seconds left to give the Bulldogs' their first lead of the night.
The Falcons would have the final strike in the contest, however, as a lay-in by Pamela Findlay with five ticks remaining would prove to be the difference.
Air Force jumped out early and ran out to a 30-11 lead with less than six minutes remaining in the first period.
The Bulldogs refused to go away, however, going on a 16-3 run to finish the half and cutting the deficit to six heading into the locker room. Freshman Mel Thornton led the way during the trek with five points, while senior Ellen Hamilton and Lester connected on threes.
Air Force continued to keep the Bulldogs at bay throughout much of the second half before Hamilton got the final rally started for Butler on back-to-back lay-ups with five minutes remaining before Lester took things into her own hands.
Lester's 16 points led all scorers, while Hamilton finished with 11 points. Closser extended her three-point streak to 32 games with a triple at 7:41 of the first half and finished the game with 13 points.
Hamilton was named to the All-Tournament Team, totalling 28 points in two contests after leading the Bulldogs with 17 points on five three-pointers in the tournament opener against UC Riverside.
The Bulldogs take on Ohio on Sunday (Nov. 26) beginning at 2:00 p.m. in Athens, Ohio.