OLYMPIA — Up until the final minute of Evergreen’s Cascade Collegiate Conference women’s basketball game against visiting Concordia, guard Dela Jones was scoreless on three shot attempts.
Sitting on the bench after her first missed 3-pointer and her team in a back-and-forth battle, she wanted to find a way to do whatever it took to give her team a chance to win.
In a tightly-contested game, with no lead larger than four in the second half, Jones’ first made basket — a 3-pointer at the top of the key — broke a 51-all tie with 49.6 seconds left and gave the Geoducks the lead for good in a 58-52 victory over the Cavaliers Friday night.
“I knew it was good, because I kept (my arm up there),” said Jones, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL and meniscus in her right knee. “I knew it was going in.”
Teammate Jessica Denmon sank four consecutive free throws in the final 34.2 seconds to secure Evergreen’s first win in conference action since Dec. 17, and second win in a row overall.
The Geoducks forced 17 turnovers, including nine steals on Concordia (5-10, 0-6), which opened the season with four exhibitions games against NCAA Division I opponents Washington, Utah, Weber State and Portland.
For the third time in five games, the Geoducks held their opponent to fewer than 56 points; the team ranks second in the CCC in scoring defense (57.6 points per game). Jones said the team takes pride in stopping opponents.
“We set the tone for the person who plays defense and coming off the bench,” Jones said. “They give us that spark.”
Junior forward Danielle Swain led Evergreen with a game-high 21 points and 13 rebounds in 38 minutes. Denmon finished with 11 points and made 7 of 8 free throws. Point guard Sammi Clark had eight points and nine rebounds, and her bucket with 3:17 to go tied it up at 47 — the 10th of 13 ties.
Despite their slow start, shooting 30.6 percent (17 of 56) for the game, the Geoducks outrebounded Concordia 47-40.
Malori Dixon was one of three Cavaliers in double figures with 12 points.
Concordia 84, Evergreen 65: The visiting Cavaliers connected on 30 of 59 shots and used a 10-0 run in a 3-minute span early in the second half en route to its first victory in conference play. The loss drops the Geoducks to 2-11 overall and 1-4 in CCC.
Concordia’s Adam Herman, the league’s leading scorer (23.6 ppg) and second-leading rebounder (10.1 rpg), finished with 21 points and four rebounds.
Travis Wagner led the Geoducks with 16 points, and made four 3-pointers to start the game before getting his second technical foul with 15:05 left.
He was one of four players in double figures for Evergreen, along with Frankie Johnson (13), Mark Taylor (12) and Elzie Dickens (10).
Concordia held a 40-39 advantage at halftime as Johnson hit one of his two 3-pointers in the final seconds of the first half.www.theolympian.com/southsoundsports