Published January 13, 2015
With three seniors sitting nearby, Mississippi Valley State's Elvis Robinson had a tough time holding back tears.
The first-year coach felt like he let his veteran players down in their last chance to make the NCAA tournament.
MVSU didn't make a field goal and was outscored 15-2 in the fourth overtime, and Kiara Etienne scored 31 points to lead Prairie View A&M to its third straight Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament title, beating the Devilettes 100-87 Saturday.
"I'm disappointed that I couldn't do for them what I needed to do for them as a coach," Robinson said. "For it to end this way is tough."
Mississippi Valley State (17-15) forced a fourth overtime when Khristina Clemons finished off a wild scramble after two misses with a layup just before the buzzer sounded.
However, that was the last field goal the Devilettes would make. Clemons made two free throws in the fourth OT to bring Mississippi Valley State within 89-87, but Prairie View A&M scored the final 11 points of the game.
"I felt like I should have done and could have done more as a player," said Clemons, who finished with a team-best 26 points. "Right now, I'm focusing on what I couldn't do for our team."
Prairie View A&M (17-14) heads into the NCAA Tournament with eight straight victories.
"Everybody on that floor wanted it really bad," Lady Panthers coach Toyelle Wilson said. "We kept pushing and made some big plays."
Prairie View's Larissa Scott scored 24 points and Latia Williams added 17. The Lady Panthers were 9-14 after losing a second time this season to the Devilettes on Feb. 16.
The Lady Panthers haven't lost since and will play in the NCAA tournament again after losing to Connecticut last year in the opening round.
"I knew we were getting tired," said Jackson, who finished with 13 points, including six in the final overtime. "So we kept pushing ourselves. We were just determined."
Jasmyne Sanders scored 18 points and Alia Frank had 11 points and 19 rebounds for Mississippi Valley State, which hasn't won the SWAC tournament since 1993.
MVSU had chances to win the game in regulation and in the first overtime. In the third extra session, after two misses in the final 10 seconds, Clemons grabbed the offensive rebound and released her tying layup just before the buzzer sounded to tie it at 85.
In the final OT, Jackson connected on two free throws to make it 89-85. Clemons hit two free throws, the only points for the Devilettes in the last overtime, to make it 89-87.
Jackson made a jumper and then clinched the game when she drove the length of the floor for a basket, putting the Lady Panthers up 95-87 with 21.3 seconds left. Etienne capped the nearly three-hour game with a 3-pointer just before the buzzer, setting off a celebration near midcourt for the weary Prairie View players and coaches.
"To be honest with you, I didn't even know how many overtimes we played," Wilson said.
Neither team led by more than four in the final 12 minutes of regulation and the first three overtimes. The margin was not any bigger until the Lady Panthers pulled away in the final minute of the game.