TAHLEQUAH — Tosha Tyler has been around college basketball for four years. Randy Gipson’s tenure has been much longer than that.
Gipson is in his 14th season as Northeastern State’s women’s basketball coach. Before that, he spent 11 years at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M. He has seen his fair share of basketball.
But what he saw Saturday in his club’s 46-44 win over Truman was a rarity.
“I can say, for sure, never have I seen a game — or been a part of a game — that got decided by a four-point play in that dramatic of fashion,” Northeastern State coach Randy Gipson said. “Over my career, I’ve seen game-winning and last-second shots, but it was nice to be on the winning side of one of those.”
What he witnessed — along with 836 in attendance at Jack Dobbins Field House — was a miraculous four-point play by Tosha Tyler with 25 seconds left. In the blink of an eye, the RiverHawks went from down three to up one.
“Definitely, the biggest shot of my career — ever,” Tyler said, describing the magnitude of her fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh points against Truman.
In a game where the RiverHawks shot 37.8 percent (17 of 45) from the field, Tyler said there was certainly some anxious moments while staring down a three-point deficit and the clock winding down.
“I felt panicked,” Tyler said. “But we just kept encouraging each other. We’re all best friends, so we just kind of had fun with it and keep playing the game we love.”
After Truman’s Allie Norton made two free throws with 33 seconds left, NSU went down the floor and Fontana Tate found Tyler in the right corner. From there, the rest is history.
“(Truman’s Megan Sharpe) barely fouled me and got a piece of my left hand,” Tyler said, rehashing the game-changing situation, which culminated with the go-ahead free throw. “(The ball) sailed right through, and I turned around and started cheering with (former teammate) Jasmine Wright, who was standing behind me [in the crowd]. It was just a great feeling.”