By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
West Burlington, Iowa---The No. 9 Express women's basketball team lost their season opener 65-63 to six-time national champion Kirkwood College in the Southeastern Classic today.
The Express, down by one at halftime, rallied to take a 10 point lead. Kirkwood, however, went on a 10-0 run to tie it up. With the game tied and 1:37 remaining, the game finished in a back-and-forth style with the Express coming up on the short end.
"We had them on the ropes," said Express women's basketball head coach Michael Llanas. "Then we made some mistakes and let them back in the game, and they capitalized. It's Kirkwood. They're a good team."
The Express had a few chances to tie or win the game in the final seconds. They missed a 3-pointer with five seconds left, but grabbed an offensive rebound and missed a follow up. However, they got another offensive rebound and called a timeout. The ensuing inbounds pass, however, was tipped and left only 0.1 seconds left - not enough time to score.
Kamilah Carter (Pioneer/Ann Arbor, Mich.) led the Express in points with 16, while adding eight rebounds, two assists and one steal. Eboni Adams (Maple Heights/Cleveland, Ohio) added 14 points and Zhana Randolph (Rochester/Rochester Hills, Mich.) had nine.
Ashley Tunstall (Wayne/Huber Heights, Ohio) had a team-high nine reboundsto go along with three points. Four different Express players had two assists, while Adams had a team-high two steals.
As a team, the Express shot 26-for-61 from the field overall, 11-for-21 from 3-point range and 5-for-8 from the foul line. Meanwhile, Kirkwood shot 24-for-70 overall from the field, 5-for-22 from 3-point range and 14-for-19 from the foul line.
The Express will play Southeastern Community College at 4 p.m. ET tomorrow in the finale of the Southeastern Classic.