For the Buena Vista University women's basketball team, it was a matter of just not quite getting over the hump.
The Beavers' bid to become one of the top eight teams in the nation fell four points here Friday night, as Puget Sound University upended BVU 70-66 in a national tourney game.
The Beavers had a four point lead on two occasions in the first half but after falling behind 19-18 with 11 minutes remaining in the opening half, never saw the lead again.
The Beavers trailed 36-27 after the first 20 minutes and got to within two points of Puget Sound twice late in the second half, but could never regain an advantage.
Meanwhile, it wasn't the best performance the Beavers have had this season, according to coach Janet Berry.
"But we had an outstanding season," Berry said. "And I was proud of the way our players came back and never quit. It's tough when you're behind by 12 points with just nine minutes left."
The Beavers were just 14 of 23 from the free throw line and shot 28 of 67 from the floor for 42 percent.
Nevertheless, BVU got a game-high 22 points from junior center Kristina Kapler and 20 points and a game-high 17 rebounds from two-time Iowa Conference MVP Amy Meggers.
Sophomore point guard Katie Maguire added 15 points for the Beavers, whose season ended at 27-3, a season record for wins.
Puget Sound got a team-high 19 points from 6-foot-2 senior post player Angie Straw, 15 from its leading scorer, Lindsey May, and a surprising 11 off the bench from senior guard Laura Kovel.
Turnovers were also a problem for the Beavers, at least until the game's last five minutes. They turned the ball over 14 times to just five for Puget Sound.
The Beavers got off to a fast start, taking early leads of 8-4, 10-6 and 12-8.
But Puget Sound tied the game at 16 on a layup by May and took the lead at 19-18 with 11 minutes left in the first half.
The Loggers went on a 17-9 run to close the half.
"They did a good job defensively by not giving us good looks beyond the arc," Berry said. "They gave us the inside shots but we didn't get many good looks from the perimeter."
The Loggers had a nine point lead at one point early in the second half but the Beavers began chipping away.
Meggers hit a three to get BVU to within 47-42 but Puget Sound's Kilty Keaton hit for three on the next trip downcourt.
With nine minutes left, the Beavers trailed 56-44 before beginning a comeback that just ran out of time.
Maguire made a traditional three-point play with 2:15 left to get BV to within 63-58. That was followed by two free throws from Meggers and a free throw by Maguire as BV closed to within 63-60.
Kapler made one of two free throws and BVU was within two at 63-61 with 1:37 left.
Koval then hit a leaner on the other end but that was followed by a short jumper by BVU senior Kelli Taylor with 50 seconds left.
Keaton missed a free throw for Puget Sound, and the Beavers were within one possession with 30 seconds left at 66-63. Meggers made one of two free throws to make it 66-64.
The Beavers were forced to foul and Keaton sealed BVU's fate by netting two free throws for a 68-64 lead with just 12 seconds remaining.
"We gave them a few too many offensive rebounds and they made some tough putbacks," Berry said.
With the win, the Loggers improved to 23-4 and advanced to the round of eight.