Given another chance to sway the result for her Western Kentucky team, Gooch went to the boards with determination and hit a key shot in overtime as the Hilltoppers scraped out a 79-78 victory against Colorado in the quarterfinals of the preseason WNIT. Gooch had 30 points and 11 rebounds for Western Kentucky (2-0), which will host a semifinal on Thursday against Albany at 7 p.m. CST. In the other semifinal Thursday, West Virginia travels to Mississippi State for an 8 p.m. EST tipoff.
Colorado (1-1) faced a 77-72 deficit with 38 seconds to go in the extra session, but Jen Reese hit a 3-pointer and added a conventional three-point play to carve into the margin. WKU hit just enough free throws at the end to preserve the win – Micah Jones had 20 points, and Kendall Noble added seven points, 14 rebounds and six assists.
The Buffs nearly pulled it off in overtime, but Lexy Kresl missed a layup along the baseline in the final seconds. Kresl had a great game, however, with 20 points and four rebounds. Reese set a career-high in scoring with 24 points while adding 11 rebounds; Jasmine Sborov added six points and 11 rebounds.
Western Kentucky had an eight-point lead about 10 minutes through the second half, but CU began its slow journey back in the fight on a three-point play from Kresl. The Buffs took a 67-63 lead with about two minutes to go; on two separate occasions, Western Kentucky got rebounds off their own missed free throws, and Gooch converted one chance to make it 67-all with less than a minute to go. Reese had a chance to ice the game for Colorado, but she hit just one of two free throws with 19 seconds in regulation, and the Hilltoppers didn’t get a quality shot off before the second-half buzzer.
Colorado will play in the consolation round Saturday, hosting Arkansas State at 6 p.m. MST; Penn State is hosting Seton Hall in a consolation game set for 7 p.m. EST on Saturday.