A deep jump shot from Katelynn Creekmore early in the fourth quarter pushed McAlester’s lead to 4. Miranda Rauner drew a foul and shot 1-for-2 for Bishop Kelley, but on the opposite end Creekmore found McLain in the low post for a layup and a 34-29 lead.
The Comets had been using a 2-3 zone in the first half to contain McAlester’s forwards. But in the second half they switched to a 3-2, sending more Comets to the perimeter and leaving two posts to guard McAlester’s forwards.
“They were giving up our inside game,” Burns said. “So that’s why we kept saying, ‘We have to get the ball inside,’ because they weren’t really respecting our inside game.”
Following a Bishop Kelley miss, McLain grabbed an offensive rebound, drew a foul and drained both free throws for a 36-29 lead.
“We tried to drive as much as we could and just keep going up there, even though we got hammered,” McLain said.
“Since they didn’t give us the respect of the post, we just kept drilling it in.”
McAlester next scored on a give-and-go from Baylee Dawkins to April Calistro and back to Dawkins for a layup that made it 38-31. The Comets tried to mount a comeback late, but with no real outside shooting — Calistro’s three 3-pointers matched the Comets’ total as a team — they could only make back a point or two at a time.
“McAlester switched to that zone, and we struggled attacking with it,” Comets coach Jade Allison said. “We weren’t very confident with getting the ball inside, which we needed to do. When somebody goes zone and you don’t hit the first couple (of) outside shots, that rim just gets tighter and tighter.”
McKenzie did hit a 3-pointer that cut McAlester’s lead to 40-37 with 1:32 left in the game. But the Comets missed their next shot, then Compton drew a foul and shot 2-for-2 at the line to push the lead to 42-37.