Aug. 9, 2001
Klosterneuburg, Austria - In the closest game in women's conference tour history, the 2001 Big 12 All Stars came from 11 points down in the second half to defeat professional squad Klosterneuburg Teko by a score of 82-78 in overtime on Thursday afternoon.
Colorado guard Mandy Nightingale led all scorers with 25 points on the day, followed by Oklahoma's LaNeishea Caufield and Baylor's Danielle Crockrom with 15 apiece. Tracy Cook of Texas had a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds, while Iowa State's Angie Welle had 13 rebounds to tie for the game high. The team was 23-38 from the free throw line, good for just 60.5 percent.
"We need to go to the park tomorrow and work on free throws," said head coach Ceal Barry. "It was fun to coach everybody else's players. It was fun to see who responded under pressure, to see each of them in pressure situations."
The All Stars started the game in strong fashion, leading at the end of the first quarter by a score of 30-25. Baylor's Danielle Crockrom led first quarter Big 12 scorers with eight, while Cook led rebounders with three. Klosterneuburg came out of the intermission firing, scoring 19 points to the All Stars' nine. Cook carried the All Stars through the second period with her seven points on 3 of 4 shooting from the floor and 1 of 2 from the free throw line, while grabbing three boards.
At halftime, the Big 12 squad was down 44-39. Cook led the team with 11 points and six boards in the first half, followed by Crockrom with eight points. The intermission proved inspiring for the All Star team, as it came out on a mission, scoring 20 points on the Teko team while allowing just 11. Nightingale scored eight points in the third on 3 of 5 shooting from the floor, also going 2 for 2 from the free throw line. Crockrom erupted for seven more points in the period, while Cook grabbed five boards, including four offensive caroms. After three quarters the score was Big 12 59, Klosterneuburg 55.
"When your shots aren't falling you have to go back to rebounding and the little things," said Cook. "Coach Barry kept stressing the importance of hitting the boards so that was in the back of my mind, especially when we started to get down. It was really fun because it was our first game as a team, and a lot of times when you get down it's hard to stick together, especially when you don't know each other. But we came together and we pulled it off. Every person played their role."
The fourth quarter would prove a seesaw battle which saw three ties and four lead changes. Oklahoma State's Shelby Hutchens came up huge with a put back of her own missed free throw to tie the game at 72 with just 1:42 to play. Neither team could capitalize after alternating possessions when Nightingale was fouled with 13 seconds left to play. An 84.7 percent free throw shooter her junior year at CU, she did not capitalize on the charity shots and the teams finished after regulation knotted up at 74 apiece.
"I felt like I had choked and that I needed to make it up in overtime," said Nightingale of her two misses. "I felt like I redeemed myself at the end, but I felt like I let my team down at the start. We should have won and not had overtime. But it worked out well.
The referee signaled that the game was over at the end of regulation due to the men's practice, however protests from the Big 12 huddle resulted in a three-minute overtime. The clock was set to 10 minutes, with play continuing to the seven-minute mark. With the men jogging courtside, Caufield erupted for six straight points, scoring a free throw, a three pointer and a short jumper to give the All Stars the lead for good. Klosterneuburg was able to draw within two at 80-78, however two Nightingale free throws after a flagrant foul on the Teko squad iced the game at 82-78. The previous closest game in the history of the tour was a 91-87 loss to the Finnish National Team in 1999.
"I think that I heard Coach Barry before I went back in there and she told me I had to make something happen," said Caufield. "Rebound more, be more aggressive. I didn't want to lose to this team. Everyone was working and playing so hard and once I got a sense that they were clicking, I did too. I knew we would win just from how we were playing."
The Big 12 All Stars, now 1-0, will return to action on Saturday, Aug. 11 when they travel to Bratislava, Slovak Republic, for the second game on their tour.