Thomas' amazing 27-point 2nd-half performance nearly helps Grinnell complete comeback win

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BELOIT, Wis. - Grinnell College's women's basketball team posted an incredible comeback against Beloit College Wednesday with an equally amazing individual performance.

Sasha Thomas '22 scored a career-high 27 points - all in the second half - as the Pioneers erased a double-digit deficit to take the lead before Beloit rebounded for a 73-70 win.

Thomas' point total was the best for a Pioneer this season and her second-half scoring effort among the best in school history. The team's point total and eight 3-pointers are tops for the squad in 2018-19 and the 12 steals rank second.

Thomas made four of Grinnell's 3-pointers and also had a career-best three steals. Sofia Ahooja '22 chipped in 13 points and had five rebounds and two assists. Daria Guzzo added six rebounds and Tyria Heath '21 two assists. Kate Tomczik '22, Hanna Kessel '19, Heath and Ahooja all contributed two steals each.

Thomas' big second half consisted of 9-of-13 shooting from the field and 4-of-8 performance from 3-point land as she had 14 points in the third period and 13 in the fourth.

It was all Beloit in the first half, as the Buccaneers shot out to a 19-5 lead and were up 21-11 after one period. They reached a 14-point lead again, this time at the end of the half, to go into intermission with a 37-23 edge.

Grinnell opened the second half with the momentum, as Tomczik made a free throw and Guzzo a layup to make it an 11-point game. The Pioneers continued to inch closer, coming within seven before closing out the period with a 12-5 run. Thomas made two free throws and a trey to bring the Pioneers within two. After two free throws by the hosts, Olivia Woolam '21 cashed in on a trey to make it 51-50.

Beloit pushed its lead out to 54-50 before Thomas connected on a pair of jumpers in the final 28 seconds to force a 54-all tie entering the fourth quarter. The Buccaneers opened the final stanza with a basket, but Grinnell gained its first lead since the opening period on a 3-pointer by Thomas. A free throw by Beloit tied the game, but Thomas drained a jumper to push Grinnell up by two.

After Beloit got a free throw, Thomas made another jumper and 3-pointer for a 64-58 Grinnell lead with 6:42 left. The Pioneers later stretched their cushion to seven when a trey by Thomas made it 68-61 with 5:32 left.

However, the Buccaneers worked back into contention and scored the game's final eight points to secure the win and improve to 6-11 in the Midwest Conference and 7-17 in all games.

During the game, Thomas moved up to ninth in Pioneer history for 3-pointers attempted in a season with 170. As a team, Grinnell moved up in two season categories as the Pioneers' 199 steals rank fifth and 473 3-pointers attempted rank 10th.

Grinnell, 6-11 in the MWC and 8-15 in all games, closes out its sea