BC (16-4) took advantage, clawing within 10-6 by the end of the first stop. Evonnie Payne’s driving bucket with 35 seconds left in the half finished off BC’s 15-0 surge, but a floater by Caitlyn O’Neal and a steal that turned into a pair of free throws from Kiersten Durbin in the closing seconds helped Western pull within three at intermission.
The Panthers then dominated the final 16 minutes to seal the win.
Western forced 28 turnovers — 18 in the second in the second half, 10 coming on steals in the final 16 minutes with Givens and Cailtyn O’Neal back in the lineup. That helped the Panthers outscore BC 19-4 in points off turnovers for the night.
“Certainly when those two go [to the bench], we’re looking at a different style of play,” Western coach Chris Keisling said. “With the style we play, you’re going to experience foul trouble occasionally. We were able to get through the first half inside of five points, and felt good about that. We knew that would play into our favor as we brought our press back. These girls run that diamond pressure about as well as a team I’ve had.”
Western held BC to three field goal attempts in through the first 4:40 of the final stanza, all three of which they hit. Tessa Brouillette’s 3 pulled the Bison within 36-33 with 3:20 to play, but the Panthers would not relinquish another point as BC missed its final five attempts from the floor.
“Their seniors never say die because this is all they have left,” BC coach David Baxter said. “Our girls gave great effort, but when you have 14-, 15-year-olds going against 18-year-olds, our girls just broke down over the course of the game physically.”
Katie Shields led BC with 16 points and nine rebounds.