Everyone who has stepped foot on a basketball court has dreamed of it. Children act it out on their makeshift courts in their driveway each time they play. One of the most dramatic finish in all of sports. The “buzzer beater.”
For Freshman Emma Wingerd, that dream became a reality.
In one of the biggest games of the season, the McDaniel Green Terror Women’s basketball team played host to the school’s long time rival Johns Hopkins. Hopkins entered the contest ranked among the top 25 in the nation with a 19-2 record and looked to come into the Gill Center to score another victory on their way to the playoffs.
Wingerd and the Terror had other plans.
“In the locker room before the game, Coach talked about how they had beaten us two years ago and the seniors nodded and you could tell they felt pretty strongly about Hopkins,” Wingerd recalls, “So going into the game, I just wanted to play hard for our seniors and play like we had nothing to lose.
That intensity and desire to play hard prevailed for the Terror in the end, but it certainly did not come easy. With less than ten seconds left, Hopkins raced down the court and scored a basket to tie the game at 74. Overtime seemed imminent.
But with the seconds winding down, Junior Rachael Ryback threw up a 27-foot jump shot to try and end the game. Unfortunately, the shot came up short. Fortunately, however, Wingerd was there for the rebound.
“It was a lot of instinct that took me to the basket. I was just lucky enough to be going towards the right place at the right time,” said Wingerd.
She believed that it was her subconscious confidence in her teammates abilities that lead her to that right place.
“The thing I didn’t figure out that I knew until afterwards is that Rachael is an amazing shooter, so she wasn’t going to miss to either side, it was either going to be dead on or come up short being late in the game. I was just lucky my body knew that before my brain” Wingerd said.
With the final basket, her teammates rushed onto the court and celebrated the tremendous finish. “Everything was such a blur directly after the game that I don’t remember what anyone said, until in the locker room when (senior) Kelsey Franklin said that this made her season. That’s what made it so special”
And just like that, the underdog Green Terror pulled out one of the biggest upsets in school history, beating the rival team, with the famed buzzer beater.
“In my entire sports career, this definitely tops the list (of greatest moments)” says Wingerd, “I never thought I could hit the game winner on the college stage against a top 25 team like Hopkins. It’s one of those things that you would dream about. It still feels like that (a dream) sometimes.”