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Recaps: Inaugural Athletes Unlimited champion Tianna Hawkins leads her team to victory in triple overtime thriller to close season

Tianna Hawkins led her team in virtually every statistical category on Saturday while securing the Athletes Unlimited individual title.

Washington Mystics v Dallas Wings
Tianna Hawkins
Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

In what will undoubtedly go down as one of the best games from this Athletes Unlimited season, Team Hawkins was able to win 116-111 after going into triple overtime against Team Cloud Saturday at Sport Center in Las Vegas. The victory and performance from Hawkins secured her status as the 2022 Athletes Unlimited champion.

In a game where Team Hawkins only played seven players, Hawkins was the captain among captains, leading the team in special points (515), minutes (55), points (35), and rebounds (18). Hawkins wasn’t a one-woman show; she got double-double performances from Kelsey Mitchell (25 points, 11 assists) and Sydney Colson (13 points, 10 assists). Also, Drew Edelman (USC, Israel D-1) contributed key buckets in the fourth and overtime to help win the game.

Team Cloud only played six players, which is mind-boggling when you think about the fact that this was a triple-overtime game! I suppose after a week of games, Cloud knew who to play and who not to play and only trusted this small core in such a tight game. Unfortunately, that trust didn’t pay off in a victory, but it did lead to monster stats for the players who did contribute. Jantel Lavender (419 special points) had 27 points and 15 rebounds, while DiJonai Carrington (417 special points) had 34 points and 13 rebounds and Cloud (250 special points) had 14 points and 19 assists. Each of them played 50-plus minutes.

The back and forth during the final 1:30 of the fourth was nothing short of incredible. In that span, the lead changed five times as the teams exchanged tip-ins and layups until the fourth quarter ended at 84-84.

In the first OT, scoring was plentiful — both teams scored 13. Cloud led her side with seven points and Air Hearn led Team Hawkins with six.

The second OT was a series of runs. Team Hawkins came out with a quick four-point run, and Team Cloud responded with a seven-point run of their own. Edelman came through one more time with a tip-in at 53 seconds remaining that tied the game at 108 and forced a third and final overtime.

Both teams were exhausted. There was much less scoring in the third OT as Team Cloud could only manage one field goal. Colson put Team Hawkins up for good with a layup at 2:06 remaining, and Danni McCray iced the game with a pair of free throws.

This was a game where both teams deserved to win, but this isn’t soccer or football. Someone had to lose and unfortunately for Team Cloud, it was them.

Other action

Saturday

Team Brown over Team Harrison, 103-90

Brown vs. Harrison was an even affair during the first half. It was all tied up at 49 entering the second half, when Team Brown started picking up its offense. Tt outscored Team Harrison 31-14 in the third with a balanced offensive attack led by Kalani Brown and Taj Cole (Virginia Tech). Yes Team Harrison stayed just close enough to have hope in the fourth, but it never really was in a position to be victorious after the third quarter.

K. Brown (525 special points) led her team with 29 points and 10 rebounds. Cole (517 special points) was just as good, scoring 24 points and leading the team with nine assists in her 38 minutes of play.

For Team Harrison, Odyssey Sims (334 special points) performed well, scoring 30 points on 50 percent shooting. Courtney Williams led the team in special points (360) and minutes played (38) in the loss.

Friday

Team Hawkins over Team Harrison, 85-74

Team Harrison had third-quarter woes all week, and the game against Team Hawkins was no exception. It was outscored 27-13 in the third and couldn’t overcome being down 72-55 entering the fourth. Mitchell and Colson both had 436 special points for Team Hawkins. Add Hawkins’ 19 points and you get an easy win.

Team Harrison got great production from Odyssey Sims (341 special points, 28 points) and Isabelle Harrison (324 special points, 29 points) in the loss. Rebounds hurt Team Harrison; it was outrebounded 44-32.

Team Brown over Team Cloud, 97-88

Lexie Brown led her team with 20 points to go along with seven assists for 518 special points. Taj Cole added 18 points and eight assists for the winners.

Natasha Cloud (536 special points) had a monster game, scoring 31 points in defeat.

Team Cloud trailed by just two with 10 seconds to go in the third, but Team Brown went on an 8-0 run to secure the lead and the victory.

Wednesday

Team Hawkins over Team Brown, 80-77

Team Hawkins was in control the entire game. Thanks to Hawkins and Mitchell both dropping 20 points, the victory was never in doubt. Hearn was very productive as well, adding 443 special points, 10 points, and seven assists.

Team Brown was the K. Brown show as she led the team in special points (369) and rebounds (seven). She was tied for the team lead in assists (seven) with teammate L. Brown.

Team Cloud over Team Harrison, 88-78

Team Cloud took care of business early with a huge second quarter in which it outscored Team Harrison 33-10. A 55-32 halftime deficit was just too much for Team Harrison to overcome. It had a respectable third with Odyssey Sims leading the offensive charge, but it could never get the game within reach.

Harrison was a workhorse, playing 40 minutes, scoring 17 points and grabbing 10 boards. Williams had 262 special points and 21 points on 46.2 percent shooting.

Cloud matched Sims’ energy, also playing 40 minutes and scoring 21 points along with nine dimes. Imani McGee Stafford (507 special points) added 18 points and a whopping 15 rebounds to the winning cause.