Anderson's Last Second Bucket Leads WMU to 70-69 Win Over Valpo
Anderson provided big plays all night, also hitting a contested three-pointer at the halftime buzzer.
The Broncos (4-7) built a 10-point first half lead, but let Valparaiso (3-7) back in the game in the final five minutes of the half, as the Crusaders outscored WMU by 11 over a five-minute span. WMU briefly relinquished the lead when Maegan Callaway hit a layup with 22 seconds left in the first and it took Anderson's buzzer-beater to give Western Michigan a slight, 38-36, advantage at the half.
After WMU's Jazmine Windham hit a three to open the second half, Western Michigan and Valpo traded blows for most of the game. Neither team would lead by more than two possessions until Valpo scored eight straight to go up seven, 65-58, with 2:48 remaining. The Crusaders hit a three at the of the shot clock, banked in a second triple and had an offensive putback during the 8-0 run.
Windham hit two more three's over the next two minutes and Anderson got to the bucket to help the Broncos stay within reach down the stretch. Windham's backside three-pointer with 58 seconds pulled WMU within one, 67-66. After a Valpo turnover, Corie Buchanan drove to the hoop for two with 18 ticks left, giving WMU a one-point cushion, but Valpo took the lead back on Gina Lange's putback with 8.8 seconds left.
Valpo called a timeout, and Western Michigan drew up the play for Anderson. She got screen in the back court and streamed down the right lane, finishing with 2.5 seconds left on the clock. Valpo's final shot from half court fell short and WMU celebrated a 70-69 victory.
"Coach told me to get it in and go," Anderson said. "He said go make a play."
"We got her a little rub screen and that kid had to chase her a little bit," WMU head coach Shane Clipfell said. "Auri's got speed that few people have that we will play against. Few people have that speed when she gets the ball and gets going. She went off of two feet and did a good job of finishing."
Anderson ended the night with 11 points, two rebounds and two assists. Windham hit four of six three-pointers and had a team-high 14 points. Buchanan closed out with 12 points, five assists and four rebounds.
Three players reached double figures for Valparaiso, led by Liz Horton's game-high 19 points. Lange and Charae Richardson each had 11.
Valpo held a higher shooting percentage in the contest, connecting on 50.9 percent of its shots to WMU's 41.7 percent. The Broncos made five more free throws, going 11-for-12 from the line.
The win was the second-straight at home for the Broncos, who handed Chicago State a 42-point loss (80-38) on Dec. 8.
Western Michigan only has two more non-conference games left on its schedule, both on the road. After an eight-day break, the Broncos travel to Chicago for their next contest, facing UIC on Dec. 28, at 8 p.m. ET. WMU then heads to Philadelphia to play Temple Jan. 7.
The Broncos open their 16-game Mid-American Conference slate at home, Thursday, Jan. 10, against Eastern Michigan.